The Highway Code is getting a huge revamp by 2022, with a number of changes that will affect drivers across the UK. With several driving rule changes on the way, here’s everything you need to know
In a bid to offer greater protection to cyclists and pedestrians, drivers are expected to prepare for several major changes to the Highway Code in 2022.
Drivers are likely to face fines and points on their license if they fail to adhere to the amended rules, which are being implemented across the UK.
Department for Transport is enforcing a new ‘hierarchy of road users’ from Saturday January 29, 2022. It will ensure that pedestrians and cyclists face greater protection on roads and at crossings.
The new guidelines are split into three categories, all with a focus on making roads safer for non-drivers. So, here’s everything you need to watch out for with the brand new Highway Code rules.
What are the new Highway Code 2022 rules?
Rule H1 Hierarchy of Road Users
The Hierarchy of Road Users is the main focus of the Highway Code 2022 rule update and the concept centers around protecting those most at risk if a road collision occurs.
Pedestrians have been identified as the most vulnerable group, leading to their place being at the top of the new structure.
The Highway Code outlines that cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists are also part of this group. It also highlights “children, older adults and disabled people being more at risk”.
Therefore, the new hierarchy structure will lead to road users – who have the ability to cause the most harm during collisions – having the “greatest responsibility” to keep other road users safe.
In particular, the guidelines state that drivers of a selection of vehicles will be facing the most scrutiny on the roads.
It states: “This principle applies most strongly to drivers of large goods and passenger vehicles, vans/minibuses, cars/taxis and motorcycles.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson told The Mirror: “The Department has established a working group of key organizations to ensure that messages about the changes are as widespread as possible.
“And our well-established THINK! campaign will continue to ensure all road users are aware both when these changes come into effect and beyond.”
Rule H2 Pedestrian priority
Press Association Images)
The 2022 Highway Code update has outlined that drivers, cyclists. drivers, motorcyclists, horse-drawn vehicles and horse riders must now give way to pedestrians who are crossing or waiting to cross the road, at junctions into which or from which you are turning.
Previously, vehicles and cyclists were given priority at junctions, but the rules now mean that this is no longer the case.
Pedestrians continue to have priority at zebra crossings, and vehicles must give way to cyclists and pedestrians at parallel crossings.
Cyclists and drivers must also give way to pedestrians at light-controlled crossings when the green signal appears.
Another rule update now means that cyclists need to give way to pedestrians on shared-use cycle tracks.
Rule H3 Cyclist safety
Press Association Images)
From giving way at roundabouts to overtaking cyclists, a number of rules have been amended to improve cyclist safety as part of the hierarchy restructure.
Drivers across the UK are now advised not to cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse-drawn vehicles when turning in or out of junctions, or changing lanes.
In a huge shakeup to the rules, the 2022 guideline amends also mean drivers must now give cyclists priority at roundabouts under Rule 186.
It now states: “You should give priority to cyclists on the roundabout. They will be traveling more slowly than motorized traffic.
“Give them plenty of room and do not attempt to overtake them within their lane. Allow them to move across your path as they travel around the roundabout.”
Cyclists must, however, stay in the left-hand lane, while signaling right to ensure they alert drivers if they aren’t leaving the roundabout at the next turning.
All the other 2022 Highway Code rule updates you need to know
Overtaking other road users
While previous guidance stated drivers needed to give cyclists ‘as much room as possible’ when overtaking, Rule 163 has now been updated.
The guidance is now as follows: “Leave at least 1.5 meters when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph.
“Give them more space when overtaking at higher speeds.”
When it comes to horse riders and horse-drawn vehicles, drivers must now not exceed speeds of 10mph and there should be at least two meters of space.
Drivers should also leave a minimum of two meters of space when passing a pedestrian who is walking on the road.
Cyclist road positioning
Cyclists may now drive in the middle of a lane, in order to make themselves as visible as possible.
However, they are to move to the left of the lane if it is safe and the following applies:
- Cyclists are on a quiet road or street and a faster vehicle approaches
- Cyclists are in slower-moving traffic that then speeds up, in order to allow for faster vehicles overtaking
- Cyclists are in an area of a junction where it would be unsafe for drivers to overtake you
Rule 72, which previously advised cyclists to keep an eye out for vehicles turning left ahead at a Í›, has now become Rule 74.
The rule entails cyclists looking out for other cyclists or motorcyclists around them before signaling. They are also encouraged to avoid riding on the inside of vehicles slowing down to turn left or indicating that they are turning left.
The new guidance adds: “If you are turning right, check the traffic to ensure it is safe, then signal and move to the center of the road.
“Wait until there is a safe gap in the oncoming traffic and give a final look before completing the turn. It may be safer to wait on the left until there is a safe gap or to dismount and push your cycle across the road.”
This amendment also highlights the importance of Rule H2, and says that cyclists must give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross now.
opening the door
A brand new addition to Rule 239 is new guidance to open your car door in a way that allows you to check for others, highlighted in the new hierarchy, who may be passing.
The update reads: “Where you are able to do so, you should open the door using your hand on the opposite side to the door you are opening.
“For example, use your left hand to open a door on your right-hand side. This will make you turn your head to look over your shoulder.”
Passengers in cars are also instructed to look all around, using their mirrors, before opening the door of their vehicle.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.