All changes to the 2022 Highway Code will be made this weekend in a major reorganization of drivers

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Drivers have been warned of the changes in the Highway Code that will come into force as of this Saturday.

The changes will have implications for anyone who uses the roads, including cyclists, motorists and pedestrians.

Many of the rules found in the Highway Code are subject to law, and failure to comply can be considered a criminal offence.

Motorists risk being fined, receiving penalty points, or being disqualified from driving for violating the Code’s standards.

In the most serious cases, people can be sent to prison.

The rule changes hope to reduce the number of accidents on the roads by giving more priority to vulnerable road users, including pedestrians and cyclists.

Here are the changes drivers should be aware of when they go into effect on January 29.

Hierarchy of road users

Several rules on the road will change from Saturday.

The road user hierarchy places road users who are most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy.

The road users most likely to be injured in a crash are pedestrians, bicyclists, horse riders, and motorcyclists.

Children, older adults, and people with disabilities are also among those most at risk.

Bicyclists, equestrians, and drivers of horse-drawn vehicles have a responsibility to reduce danger to pedestrians under the rules.

turning into crosses

Drivers must yield to pedestrians who are waiting or are already crossing the intersection they intend to turn into.

Drivers must yield to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road where motorists are looking to turn.

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Bicyclists must also yield to pedestrians on commonly used bike lanes and to equestrians on bridle paths.

Drivers must not cross bicyclists, equestrians, or horse-drawn vehicles ahead when entering or leaving an intersection or when changing directions or lanes.

This rule applies when bicyclists are using a bike lane, bike lane, or riding on the highway; drivers must yield to them.

Motorists should not turn at an intersection if it causes the oncoming bicyclist, horseback rider, or horse-drawn vehicle to stop or swerve.

Positioning of cyclists

Bicyclists must move to the middle of the road in certain circumstances.

Bicyclists must ride in the center of the field to make themselves clearly visible in the following situations:

On quiet highways or streets: If a faster vehicle is behind you, move to the left so you can pass it, if you can do so safely.

In slow traffic: When the traffic around you begins to flow more freely, move to the left if you can do so safely so faster vehicles behind can pass you.

Approaching intersections or narrowings in the road where it would be unsafe for drivers to pass you.

When riding on busy roads with vehicles moving faster than you, cyclists should allow them to pass where it is safe to do so, keeping at least 0.5 meters from the edge of the curb.

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Overtaking vulnerable road users

Previously, the rule stated that drivers must give motorcyclists, bicyclists and equestrians “at least as much room as they would when passing a car.”

Now, the Highway Code has issued guidance stating that motorists must leave at least 1.5 meters when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30 mph, and give more space when overtaking at higher speeds.

Riders and horse-drawn vehicles must pass at speeds below 10 mph and leave at least two meters of space.

Drivers should also leave at least two meters of space and keep a low speed when passing a pedestrian who is walking on the road.

Opening the vehicle door with the opposite hand

Drivers must open the door with the hand on the opposite side of the door they are opening; for example, when opening a door on the right side, they must use their left hand.

The rules state that this will force drivers to turn their heads to look over their shoulders and be on the lookout for cyclists and motorcyclists who might be passing.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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