New Highway Code changes to protect cyclists and horse riders proposed for January 2022

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More protection will be offered to cyclists, walkers and horse-riders under new Highway Code rules. Here’s what you need to know about the rules which should come into force in January 2022

a cyclist using a cycle lane alongside heavy traffic.
Changes to Highway Code to make roads safer for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders

The government are proposing changes to the Highway Code to ensure that motorists treat cyclists, walkers and horse-riders on the road with more consideration.

These new guidelines are a result of years of campaigning from cycling, pedestrian and horse-riding campaign groups.

Set to be added to the Highway Code by January 2022, the new rules will establish a ‘hierarchy of road users’, putting those most likely to be injured in collisions at the top.

The hierarchy will be pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists, with children, older adults and disabled people also thought to be more at risk.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new Highway Code rules.

What are the new requirements of the Highway Code?

The new rules will be added to the Highway Code by January 2022
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The new guidelines lay down everything from how motorists should safely overtake cyclists, to new restrictions on the road.

These Highway Code rule changes target:

  • Cutting across cyclists, horse-riders or horse-drawn vehicles at junctions
  • Turning at a junction, if doing so may cause a cyclist or horse-rider to stop or swerve
  • Doing anything that would risk a collision with a cyclist

The changes will make it law for people to look out for those who are at risk on UK roads.
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Drivers must also take care to :

  • Give cyclists, horse-riders and pedestrians as much room as a car – 1.5 metres for cyclists and two metres for horses
  • Drive under 10mph when going past horses and under 30mph when passing cyclists.
  • Give at least two metres berth when passing pedestrian’s walking on the road, where there is no pavement and making sure that speed is also dropped to ‘low’

These new rules were drawn up earlier this year after long consultations between campaign groups like Cycling UK and the Department of Transport (DoT).

Currently the document is before the House of Commons and House of Lords, where it will be scrutinised by MPs and peers.

If it’s passed, these guidelines will become law and be added to the Highway Code after 40 parliamentary days.

The head of Cycling UK, Duncan Dollimore has spoken of the changes, saying: ‘These amendments bring not just much-needed clarity on key areas of reducing danger on our roads, such as safe overtaking distances of people walking, cycling or horse riding, but also through the new ‘hierarchy of road users’’

He added that the guidelines will make it law for people to look out for those who most vulnerable and at risk on UK roads.

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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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