Changes to the Highway code

New Rules for Drivers!

The Highway Code is changing from 29 January 2022, and rules for all road users are being updated. These updates apply to England, Scotland, and Wales, and they aim to improve the safety of people who are walking, cycling, and riding horses.

It’s important that all road users are aware of the Highway Code, are considerate to other road users, and understand their responsibility for the safety of others. Learn about the eight changes that will affect you as a driver below:

Hierarchy of road users

Three new rules are to be introduced, and they will detail the ‘hierarchy of road users.’ The hierarchy places road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy. It also dictates that drivers in charge of vehicles that cane cause the most harm in a collision will bear the most responsibility to take care and reduce the danger they pose to other road users.

People crossing the road at junctions

The updated highway code will clarify that when people are crossing or waiting to cross at a junction, other traffic should give way; if people have started crossing and traffic want to turn into the road, the people crossing have priority and the traffic should give way; people driving, riding a motorcycle, or cycling must give way to people on a zebra crossing and people walking and cycling on a parallel crossing.

Walking, cycling, or riding in shared spaces

People cycling, riding a horse or driving a horse-drawn vehicle will be asked to be more aware of the safety of pedestrians in routes and spaces shared by people walking.

Positioning in the road when cycling

Cyclists will receive updated guidance on how to position themselves on roads.

Overtaking when driving or cycling

The guidance on safe passing distances and speeds for people driving or riding a motorcycle when overtaking vulnerable road users will be updated. Drivers must leave at least 1.5metres when overtaking people cycling at speeds of up to 30mph, and giving them more space when overtaking at higher speeds; passing people riding horses or driving horse-drawn vehicles at speeds under 10mph and allowing at least 2metres; and allowing at least 2 metres of space and keeping to a low speed when passing people walking in the road. Drivers must wait behind vulnerable road users and not overtake them if it’s unsafe or not possible to meet these clearances.

People cycling at junctions

The code is to be updated to clarify that when turning into or out of a side road, people cycling should give way to people walking who are crossing or waiting to cross.

People cycling, riding a horse, and driving horse-drawn vehicles at roundabouts

People driving or riding a motorcycle should give priority to people cycling on roundabouts. New guidance dictates that drivers and motorcyclists should not attempt to overtake people cycling within that person’s lane, and they should allow people cycling to move across their path as they travel around the roundabout.

The code already explains that people cycling, riding a horse, and driving a horse-drawn vehicle may stay in the left-hand lane of a roundabout when they intend to continue across the roundabout, but guidance will be added to explain that people driving should take extra care when entering a roundabout to make sure they do not cut across people cycling, riding a horse, or driving a horse-drawn vehicle who are continuing around the roundabout in the left-hand lane.

Parking, charging, and leaving vehicles

The code will now recommend practicing a new technique when leaving vehicles which is sometimes called the ‘Dutch Reach’: where people driving or passengers are able to do so, they should open the door using their hand on the opposite side to the door they are opening. For example, using their left hand to open a door on their right-hand side. This makes them turn their head to look over their shoulder behind them, making them less likely to cause injury to people cycling or riding a motorcycle passing the road, or people on a pavement.

 

Find more information here

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Posted in News.