What is the new Highway Code? How cyclists are affected by the 2022 changes and who gets priority at roundabouts

Updates to the Highway Code will change who gets priority at junctions and put more responsibility on drivers

New rules changing the way drivers and bicyclists use roundabouts and intersections will go into effect in the coming days.

The updates to the Highway Code also bring changes in guidance on who has priority at crosswalks and pedestrian crossings, as well as giving more responsibility to drivers of larger vehicles.

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The changes, which take effect on January 29, are part of a new hierarchy of road users being introduced to help protect the most vulnerable road users.

According to him, those with the greatest potential to cause harm, such as HGV and bus drivers, have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they pose to other road users, and drivers of other motorized vehicles also have the greatest responsibility. responsibility to reduce risk to the vulnerable. road users such as cyclists and pedestrians.

New rules change how drivers must interact with bicyclists

Among the key changes being introduced is a new rule for drivers using a roundabout at the same time as a bicyclist.

Under the updated rule, drivers are now told to give bicyclists priority at roundabouts and not to cross their path. Rule 186 states: “Give them plenty of room and do not attempt to pass them within your lane. Allow them to cross your path as you travel around the roundabout.

“Bicyclists, equestrians and horse-drawn vehicles may stay in the left lane when they intend to cross or go around the roundabout and should signal to the right to show you that they are not exiting the roundabout.

“Drivers should be very careful when entering a roundabout to ensure they do not cross bicyclists, horse riders or horse-drawn vehicles in the left lane, which continue around the roundabout.”

Similar rules now apply at junctions and when passing slow traffic. Drivers turning at an intersection are cautioned not to cross the path of bicyclists traveling in a straight line when doing so. They are also told to give cyclists at least 1.5 meters of space when overtaking them.

The updates also aim to strengthen and clarify the rules about who has the right of way in a variety of situations.

Drivers and bicyclists must now yield to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross at a crosswalk or crosswalk. Previously the orientation was only to give way to those who were already crossing. The rules also make it clear that bicyclists must yield to pedestrians in shared-use bike lanes.

The Department for Transport says the changes are designed to make the roads safer for the most vulnerable users, but it does not mean that pedestrians and cyclists are not responsible.

It says, “The goal of the hierarchy is not to prioritize pedestrians, bicyclists, and horseback riders in every situation, but rather to ensure a more respectful and considerate culture of safe and efficient road use that benefits all users.”

The new hierarchy looks like this:

  • pedestrians
  • cyclists
  • riders
  • motorcyclists
  • cars/taxis
  • vans/minibuses
  • Large passenger cars/heavy duty vehicles


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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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