Highway Code rule change for cyclists and drivers coming into force next month

The new Highway Code will create a “hierarchy of road users” that gives those who can do the most harm the “greatest responsibility” – with pedestrians and cyclists placed above cars

Cyclists will be above drivers in terms of a new Highway Code hierarchy
Cyclists will be above drivers in terms of a new Highway Code hierarchy

Drivers will be told to give more priority to cyclists and pedestrians under a huge shake-up of the Highway Code due to come into force next month.

The new rules will mean motorists and cyclists will have to give way to pedestrians that are waiting to cross a road they are turning into.

Pedestrians will have priority when on a zebra crossing, on a parallel crossing or at light controlled crossings when they have a green signal.

Cars indicating to turn left or right will also have to give way to cyclists coming from behind and going straight on.

Drivers should also leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph – and give them even more space when overtaking at higher speeds.

Bikes will be deemed as those who can cause the least harm after pedestrians


Joseph Raynor/ Nottingham Post)

Finally, cyclists will be advised to ride in the middle of the road when approaching junctions and on quiet roads – currently, those on bikes typically ride on the left-hand side.

The new Highway Code will create a “hierarchy of road users” that gives those who can do the most harm the “greatest responsibility” to look out for others.

Pedestrians will be at the top of this pyramid as they’ll be classed as those who can cause the least harm.

Cyclists, horse riders, motorcyclists and cars will then follow, with vans, HGVs and buses at the bottom of the list.

The idea is that someone cycling will have greater responsibility to look out for people walking, while someone driving will have to be more aware of people cycling, walking or riding a horse.

Under the old rules, pedestrians previously only had right of way at a junction if they were already on the road.

The new Highway Code is set to come into place on January 29, subject to getting the consent of parliament.

If MPs don’t vote to oppose, it will come into place automatically on that date.

Do you think the new driving rules are a good idea? Let us know in the comments below.

Expensive driving mistakes

But this isn’t the only driving change due in 2022 – we’ve rounded up eleven things to be aware of if you’re a motorist here.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “The proposed upcoming changes to The Highway Code will improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders.”

The changes come as part of a £338million package announced by the government to boost cycling and walking across the country.

Other measures include building new cycle lanes and improving existing ones.

But the AA has warned how the Highway Code shake-up could lead to potential “confusion and dangerous situations” after it found only a third of drivers knew about the new rules.

The AA surveyed more than 13,000 drivers as part of its study.

Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “With such fundamental changes to the Highway Code taking place to make our roads safer, we need to ensure road users understand the new rules ahead of time.

“Getting the message out now would help avoid dangerous situations and remove any confusion on the roads before the new rules are adopted.”

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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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