Highway Code Changes

There are updates coming to the highway code, 49 to be precise, and a handful of new rules. These are meant to take effect from the 29th January even though some of the rulings are still to be completed! We have got a list of the changes to look out for and a link to the Gov.uk site for the comprehensive look.


The main changes centre around 3 rule changes Rule H1,H2 and H3. Below are the basics of these changes and a 12 points to summarise some of these changes

Rule H1: New hierarchy of road users

Drivers of vehicles that can cause the greatest harm in the event of a collision bear the greatest responsibility to take care and reduce the danger to others. This principle applies most strongly to drivers of HGVs, LGVs, cars/taxis and motorcycles. Cyclists and horse riders likewise have a responsibility to reduce danger to pedestrians.

Rule H2: New priority for pedestrians at junctions 

At a junction, drivers, motorcyclists, horse riders and cyclists should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from which you are turning. You should give way to pedestrians waiting to cross a zebra crossing (currently you only have to give way if they’re already on the crossing), and to pedestrians and cyclists waiting to cross a parallel crossing.

Rule H3: New priority for cyclists when cars are turning

 You should not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles going ahead when you are turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane. This applies whether they are using a cycle lane, a cycle track, or riding ahead on the road and you should give way to them. Do not turn at a junction if to do so would cause the cyclist, horse rider or horse drawn vehicle going straight ahead to stop or swerve. You should stop and wait for a safe gap in the flow of cyclists if necessary.

12 points to look at

1. A new ‘road user hierarchy’ is being introduced. The hierarchy puts a priority on protecting  vulnerable road users. The person who can do the greatest damage has the responsibility to take care of more vulnerable road users.

2.  If you’re in a vehicle at a junction and there’s a cyclist, horse rider, pedestrian or scooter rider preparing to cross the junction, you need to give the vulnerable road user right of way.

3. Drivers need to stop if a pedestrian has stepped onto a zebra crossing. They are now advised to stop if a pedestrian is waiting at a crossing. A number of these new rules could see cyclist helmet cameras and smartphones being used to record registration plates so reports can be made to the Police.

4. Cyclists are now advised to ride no less than half a metre out from the kerb and further out if it’s safer to do so. Drivers should leave at least 1.5 metres between their vehicle and the cyclist when travelling up to 30 mph. Over this speed and a 2 metre gap is required. Large vehicles need to leave a 2 metre gap whatever their speed.

5. Drivers are now specifically advised not to cut across the path of cyclists.

6. The use of hand held devices is prohibited and that includes taking videos and photographs, selecting music etc. Even when the vehicle is stationary.

7. From Spring 2022 local authorities will have the power to fine drivers for minor traffic offences such as obstructing box junctions and making U turns in prohibited areas.

8. The ‘Dutch Reach’ method of opening a vehicle door is now recommended. This is an attempt to stop cyclists being hit by a vehicle door as it’s being opened. This approach involves the person using their furthest hand from the door to open it. By leaning over for the handle the body turns so a check for a cyclist can be made.

9. Any audible warning systems and camera systems should be working and active before the vehicle starts it’s journey.

10. Drivers of large vehicles are advised to stop at a distance back from an advanced stop line so they can see all the cyclists in the waiting area and have no cyclists in their front blind spot.

11. Cyclists should be given priority at roundabouts.

12. Advanced stop lines and crossings should be kept clear and not blocked by vehicles in slow moving and queuing traffic.

For further reading please see the links below



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