Organising an event

Guidance for event organisers: highways safety checklist

In addition to the general safety checklist, you should consider the following if organising an event on the highway.


  • it is preferable that the event is held in daylight - if not then temporary lighting of access points may be required, and the police and the Highways Agency should both be contacted

Planning your route

  • whenever possible your event should be held in a park, sports ground or on country footpaths away from the road 
  • don’t use roads without proper footpaths or verges
  • don’t use roads where there are road works as these can be dangerous

Signposting your route

  • the police cannot provide signs for your event 
  • if you want to erect signs you must discuss this with our Highways department to ensure that they are safe and comply with regulations

Organisation on the day

  • try to start and finish your event off the road
  • the start of events where large numbers are present can be dangerous and should be avoided
  • enter and leave the highway without causing inconvenience to other road users. 
  • don’t obstruct the highway
  • never allow cars to follow closely behind groups of participants
  • support vehicles should not travel slowly, causing obstruction or inconvenience to other traffic
  • ensure that there are enough stewards to supervise the whole route
  • make proper arrangements to look after people who drop out

Use crossing points on the route

  • remember only police officers have the power to stop traffic - stewards can only advise people when it is safe to cross
  • if there are no footpaths, face oncoming traffic, no more than two abreast
  • always use the proper crossing points on busy roads

Changes in the route

  • make sure that all relevant agencies are advised of any changes to your route and are satisfied that suitable safety measures are in place
  • make sure that everyone taking part knows about the changes through the stewards or signs


  • if you take animals, keep them under control when on the highway

Traffic signals

  • comply with traffic signals and the advice given in the Highway Code

Level crossings

  • your event should be planned to avoid crossing any level crossing or taking access from the highway near a level crossing
  • experience shows that traffic build-up can affect a level crossing up to one mile away from the event

Planning your points of access

  • significant changes of use to any access for a different purpose, other than that which it is generally used, require discussion with the Highways Agency
  • where there is any likelihood of traffic queuing over a junction consultation with the Highways Agency should also take place

Car parking

  • adequate facilities should be provided off the highway and, where there is likely to be significant delays on entry and exit, the police and highways authority should be consulted
  • remember, approximately 300 cars are equivalent to one mile of queue