Changes to the highway code.

From the 29th January 2022, the highway code has had some changes. Updating the guidance for all road users. The main aim is to improve the safety of people walking, cycling and riding horses. But what are these changes, and how do they affect me?

Here is a roundup of the main changes.

  • Hierarchy of road users

This places the road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy. The three new rules are;

Rule 1 – Highlighting the importance that all road users are aware of the highway code, are considerate of other users and understand their responsibility for the safety of others.

Rule 2 – Rule for drivers, motorcyclists, horse drawn vehicles, horse riders and cyclists. You MUST give way to a pedestrian  on a zebra crossing, and to pedestrians and cyclists on a parallel crossing.

Rule 3 – You should not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles going ahead when you are turning into or out of a junction.

  • Crossing roads at junctions,

When a pedestrian is waiting to cross a road at a junction, traffic should give way. If people have already started crossing and traffic wants to turn into the road, the pedestrians crossing will have priority.

  • Walking, cycling or riding in shared spaces,

Cyclists are asked not to pass people walking, riding a horse or driving a horse-drawn vehicle closely or at a high speed. Slow down when necessary and let people know you are there.

  • Positioning in the road when cycling,

There has been an updated guidance for people cycling, including, riding in the center of their lane on quiet roads, in slow moving traffic and at the approach to junctions on road narrowing’s. It is also advised to keep at least 0.5 meters from the curb.

  • Overtaking when driving or cycling,

The updated guidance for overtaking is as follows, leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking people cycling at speeds of up to 30mph. Allowing at least 2 metres when passing people riding horses or driving horse-drawn vehicles at 10mph, or when passing people walking in the road.

  • People cycling at junctions,

The code has been updated to clarify that when turning into or out of a side road, people cycling should give way to people walking, crossing the road or waiting to cross. The code also recommends that people cycling should proceed as if they were driving a vehicle. This includes positioning themselves in the center of the lane.

  • Cycling and riding horses on roundabouts,

The code has been updated to clarify that people driving or riding motorcycles have priority on a roundabout.

  • Parking, charging and leaving vehicles

A new technique has been offered when leaving vehicles. When able, people should open their door using their hand on the opposite side to the door they are opening. This will make them turn their head to look over their shoulder. Reducing the risk of injuring passing pedestrians.

For the first time, guidance has been given on the use of electric vehicle charge points. When using one, people should park closely to the charge point to avoid creating a trip hazard with the cables. Display a warning sign if able and return charging cables neatly to minimise dangers.

To find out more, head over to the government website.


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