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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

New Highway Code rule changes next week

Three new major changes to the Highway Code will come into effect from next week, impacting all drivers.

Three new major changes to the Highway Code will come into effect from next week, impacting all drivers.

The Department for Transport (DfT) claims that the changes will prioritise safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders.

The changes will come into force on Saturday, 29 January.

Many of the rules in the Code are legal requirements, and if you disobey these rules you are committing a criminal offence. You may be fined, given penalty points on your licence or be disqualified from driving.

In the most serious cases, you may be sent to prison.

Knowing and applying the rules contained in The Highway Code could significantly reduce road casualties.

The new rules set out in the updated Code mean drivers don’t have priority at junctions anymore. They must give way to anyone waiting or in the process of crossing the road.

Where once it was simply guidance to ask motorists and cyclists to stop if there were pedestrians crossing using a zebra crossing, it is now a legal requirement to stop if anyone is waiting.

The biggest change to the Code is the refreshed hierarchy of road users

The code says: “The ‘Hierarchy of Road Users’ is a concept that places those road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy.

“The hierarchy does not remove the need for everyone to behave responsibly. The road users most.

“It is important that all road users are aware of The Highway Code, are considerate to other road users and understand their responsibility for the safety of others.”

The order of the hierarchy of people on the road are:

  1. pedestrians
  2. cyclists
  3. Horse riders
  4. Motorcyclists
  5. cars/taxis
  6. vans/minibusses
  7. large passenger vehicles/heavy goods vehicles

Pedestrians at junctions and zebra crossings 

At a junction, drivers should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross the road into which or from which you are turning.

Drivers must give way to pedestrians on a zebra crossing, and to pedestrians and cyclists on a parallel crossing.

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

Drivers should give way to pedestrians waiting to cross a zebra crossing and to pedestrians and cyclists waiting to cross a parallel crossing.

Horse riders should also give way to pedestrians on a zebra crossing, and to pedestrians and cyclists on a parallel crossing.

Cyclists should give way to pedestrians on shared-use cycle tracks and to horse riders on bridleways.

Only pedestrians may use the pavement. Pedestrians include wheelchair and mobility scooter users.

Pedestrians may use any part of the road and use cycle tracks as well as the pavement unless there are signs prohibiting pedestrians.

Drivers and motorcyclists must give way to cyclists and horse riders

You should not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse-drawn vehicles going ahead when you are turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane, just as you would not turn across the path of another motor vehicle.

This applies whether they are using a cycle lane, a cycle track, or riding ahead on the road and you should give way to them.

Do not turn at a junction if to do so would cause the cyclist, horse rider or horse-drawn vehicle going straight ahead to stop or swerve.

You should stop and wait for a safe gap in the flow of cyclists if necessary. This includes when cyclists are:
• approaching, passing or moving off from a junction
• moving past or waiting alongside stationary or slow-moving traffic
• travelling around a roundabout

 

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