The Highway Code has changed. On 29th January 2022 an enormous overhaul came into force. The aim of the changes is to improve road safety for pedestrians and cyclists, while introducing a new hierarchy of road users. Drivers are expected to be aware of cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders.
50 Highway code rules have been added or amended, with nine sections of the code being updated. Motorists are now expected to give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross at a junction.
Let’s outline everything you need to know about the Highway Code changes in 2022.
Pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders – people who are at the greatest risk if involved in a collision - will be prioritised over motorists, who have the highest responsibility to think about, and look out for, others on the road.
The UK Highway Code rule changes don’t eliminate the need for everyone to act responsibly while on the road.
When pedestrians are crossing, or waiting to cross at a junction, motorists and cyclists must give way. Traffic must also give way to people at a zebra crossing or a parallel crossing (parallel crossings include a cycle route alongside the black and white stripes).
When in shared spaces, cyclists shouldn’t overtake pedestrians closely or at high-speed. They should ring their bell to try to alert others of their presence, but also expect that some people could be deaf, blind or partially sighted.
People who are walking need to take care not to obstruct pathways.
When on quiet roads, cyclists need to make themselves as visible as possible. This can be achieved by riding tin the centre of their lane. Cyclists can adopt this approach when in slower-moving traffic and when approaching junctions, too.
Especially when accompanying children or people who have less experience, the guidance suggests that it can be safer to ride ‘two abreast’ or side by side.
Cyclists need to be considerate of other road users – especially when riding in groups.
The new Highway Code says that cyclists should also be cautious when passing parked cars and leave around 1 metre of space. This will help them to avoid being hit if a car door is opened.
When opening a car door, drivers and passengers are both advised to use the hand on the opposite side (e.g. their left hand to open a door on their right). This technique is known as the ‘Dutch Reach’ and encourages people to turn and look over their shoulder while opening the door. This reduces the chance of a door opening in the path of others.
Motorists are expected to park as close as possible to public charging points so they avoid creating a trip hazard from trailing charging cables.
At roundabouts, motorists should give priority to cyclists, horse riders and horse-drawn vehicles. Of course, they should not try to cut across their lanes.
Bearing the revised hierarchy in mind, drivers who are overtaking more vulnerable road users need to leave at least 1.5 metres (5ft) while travelling at speeds of up to 30mph, while allowing even more space at higher speeds.
Where people are walking on the road, such as on roads where there is no pavement, two metres or more distance should be given while overtaking.
Unless road markings or signs indicate otherwise, cyclists travelling straight ahead at a junction take priority over traffic waiting to turn into or out of a side road.
Be sure to bear these new highway codes rules in mind when you're driving your New Ford Car around town.