From roundabouts to cyclists, the new Highway Code rules will have a big impact on how road users operate in 2022. Here are the main Highway Code changes to bare in mind moving forward…
On January 29, 2022, the UK government are introducing a few simple Highway Code changes that will help protect pedestrians and cyclists.
The changes have been brought into action following a push to get UK roads safer for more vulnerable users.
There are three main changes that motorists will need to bear in mind moving forward, however the government have also applied a few small tweaks to existing rules, too.
In the worst case scenario, ignoring the rules and causing death by dangerous driving brings a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment.
Careless and inconsiderate driving comes with an unlimited fine and discretionary disqualification, so understanding the Highway Code is essential for all motorists.
New Highway Code rules 2022
Changes to hierarchy of road users
Getty Images/Eye Em)
When the new rules kick in, road users will be graded according to how vulnerable they are in the event of an accident.
Pedestrians are the most vulnerable, then cyclists — then cars, followed by heavy goods vehicles.
This means that cyclists must be wary of pedestrians, cars must watch out for cyclists, and heavy goods vehicles need to keep an eye out for cars.
The government say: “The objective of the hierarchy is not to give priority to pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders in every situation, but rather to ensure a more mutually respectful and considerate culture of safe and effective road use that benefits all users”
It states: “This principle applies most strongly to drivers of large goods and passenger vehicles, vans/minibuses, cars/taxis and motorcycles.”
Pedestrians get priority when crossing a junction
Press Association Images)
This rule is probably the biggest change motorists will notice in the new guidelines. The new Highway Code rule states that if a car is turning left at a junction where a pedestrian is waiting to cross, the car must stop and give way to the person crossing.
This change has been met by some concerned motorists, who fear that this could cause collisions as cars wait to exit busy roads. However these fears have not been backed up by any data.
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The government state that the new rule serves to “create clearer and stronger priorities for pedestrians, particularly at junctions, and clarify where pedestrians have right of way.”
The new rule will also apply to pedestrians waiting to cross zebra crossings, as well as cyclists and pedestrians waiting to cross parallel crossings.
Motorists cannot cut cyclists off when turning left
Press Association Images)
This new rule means drivers must give priority to cyclists when they are turning at a junction, or changing direction or lane, just as they would to any other motor vehicles.
The government breaks it down in simple terms: “Do not turn at a junction if to do so would cause the cyclist going straight ahead to stop or swerve, just as you would do with a motor vehicle.”
Motorists must stop and wait for a cyclist to turn when the rider is:
- approaching, passing or moving off from a junction
- moving past slow-moving traffic
- traveling around a roundabout
Extra Highway Code changes:
- dutch reach – Motorists should open their door using the opposite arm, forcing them to look over their shoulder and notice any oncoming cyclists
Cyclist road positioning – Cyclists may now travel in the center of their lane in order to improve visibility, but should move safely to the left when a car wants to overtake
Overtaking other road user – Cars should leave at least 1.5 meters when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph.
Turning Left – Cyclists are urged to keep an eye out for vehicles moving left in front of them — they should not travel on the left hand side of a vehicle that might cut them off
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.