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Updates to the Highway Code 2022

As of the 29th of January 2022, there were a number of changes made to the Highway Code which could affect you as either a driver or pedestrian. We’ve broken down the new rules for you so you’re aware of the changes.

Hierarchy of road users

The updated Highway Code rules mean that there are three changes to the hierarchy of road users. The hierarchy places the road users who are most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the list. It still means that everyone must behave responsibly and it is important that all road users…

  • Are aware of The Highway Code

  • Are considerate to fellow road users

  • Understand their responsibility for the safety of others

These new rules are known as H1, H2 and H3 which you can learn more about here.

People crossing the road at junctions

The updated code for people crossing the road at junctions states that…

  • When people are crossing or waiting to cross at a junction, other traffic should give way

  • If people have started crossing and traffic wants to turn into the road, the pedestrians crossing the road have priority and the traffic needs to give way

  • People who are driving, riding a motorcycle or cycling must give way to people who are on a zebra crossing and people walking and cycling on a parallel crossing (a parallel crossing is similar to a zebra crossing however, it includes a cycle route alongside the black and white stripes).

Walking, cycling or riding in shared spaces

People who are cycling, riding a horse or driving a horse-drawn vehicle should respect the safety of people who are also walking in these spaces. But, people walking should also take care to not obstruct or endanger them.

Those who are cycling are asked to:

  • Not pass people walking, riding a horse or driving a horse-drawn vehicle closely or at high speed, particularly from behind

  • Slow down when necessary and let people walking know they are there such as by ringing their bell

  • Keep in mind that people walking may be deaf, blind or partially sighted

  • Not pass a horse on the horse’s left

Positioning in the road when cycling

The updated guidance for people cycling and their positioning in the road includes…

  • Riding in the centre of their lane on quiet roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions or road narrowings

  • Keeping at least 0.5 metres (just over 1.5 feet) away from the kerb edge (and further where it is safer) when riding on busy roads with vehicles moving faster than them

People cycling in groups:

  • Should be considerate of the needs of other road users

  • Can ride 2 abreast - and it can be safer to do so, particularly in larger groups or when accompanying children or less experienced riders

For those cycling, they are asked to be aware of people driving behind them and allow them to overtake (for example, by moving into single file or stopping) when it’s safe to do so.

People cycling passing parked vehicles:

  • Take care when passing parked vehicles, leaving enough room (a door’s width or 1 metre) to avoid being hit if a car door is opened

  • Watch out for people walking into their path

Overtaking when cycling or driving

You may, if the road is clear cross a double-white line if necessary to overtake someone who is cycling or riding a horse if they are travelling at 10mph or less.

This is the updated guidance on safe passing distances and speeds for people driving or riding a motorcycle when overtaking vulnerable road users, including:

  • Leaving at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) when overtaking people cycling at speeds of up to 30mph, and giving them more space when overtaking at higher speeds

  • Passing people riding horses or driving horse-drawn vehicles at speeds under 10 mph and allowing at least 2 metres (6.5 feet) of space

  • Allowing at least 2 metres (6.5 feet) of space and keeping to a low speed when passing people walking in the road (for example, where there’s no pavement)

Wait behind them and do not overtake if it’s unsafe or not possible to meet these clearances.

People cycling passing slower-moving or stationary traffic.

This updated code confirms that people cycling may pass slower-moving or stationary traffic on their right or left. They should proceed with caution as those driving may not be able to see them. This is particularly important:

  • When approaching junctions

  • When deciding whether it is safe to pass lorries or other large vehicles

People cycling at junctions

The Highway Code has been updates to clarify that when turning into or out of a side road, those cycling should give way to people who are walking, who are crossing or waiting to cross.

The is also new advice about new special cycle facilities at some junctions.

Some junctions now include small cycle traffic lights at eye-level height which may allow cyclists to move separately from or before other traffic. Cyclists are encouraged to use these facilities where they make their journey safer and easier.

There is also new guidance for people cycling at junctions with no separate facilities.

The code recommends that people cycling should proceed as if they were driving a vehicle where there are no separate cyclist facilities. This includes positioning themselves in the centre of their chosen lane, where they feel able to do this safely. This is to:

  • Ensure they are are as visible as possible

  • Avoid being overtaken where this would be dangerous

The code now includes advice for people cycling using junctions where signs and markings tell them to turn right in 2 stages. These are:

  • Stage 1 - when the traffic lights turn green, go straight ahead to the location marked by a cycle symbol and turn arrow on the road, and then stop and wait

  • Stage 2 - when the traffic lights on the far side of the junction (now facing the people cycling) turn green, complete the manoeuvre

People cycling have priority when going straight ahead at junctions and the code clarifies that when people cycling are going straight ahead at a junction, they have priority over traffic waiting to turn into or out of a side road, unless road signs or markings indicate otherwise.

Those cycling are asked to watch out for people driving intending to turn across their path, as people driving ahead may not be able to see them.

People cycling, riding a horse and driving horse-drawn vehicles on roundabouts

People driving or riding a motorcycle should give priority to people cycling on roundabouts.

The new guidance will say people driving and or riding a motorcycle should:

  • Not attempt to overtake people cycling within that person’s lane

  • Allow people cycling to move across their path as they travel around the roundabout

Updates have been added to explain that people driving should take extra care when entering a roundabout to make sure they do not cut across people cycling, riding a horse or driving a horse-drawn vehicle who are continuing around the roundabout in the left-hand lane.

Parking, charging or leaving vehicles

The Highway Code recommends a new technique when leaving vehicles which is sometimes called the ‘Dutch Reach’.

Where people driving or passengers in a vehicle are able to do so, they should open the door using their hand on the opposite side to the door they are opening. For example, using their left hand to open a door on their right-hand side. This will make them turn their head to look over their shoulder behind them. They’re then less likely to cause injury to:

  • People cycling or riding a motorcycle passing on the road

  • People on the pavement

For the first time, the code includes guidance about using electric vehicle charging points.

When using one, people should:

  • Park close to the charge point and avoid creating a trip hazard for people walking from trailing cables

  • Display a warning sign if you can

  • Return charging cables and connectors neatly to minimise the danger to other people and avoid creating an obstacle for other road users

There are a number of changes to The Highway Code, namely that pedestrians should be given right away at a junction.

If you would like to know more you can take a look at the GOV.UK website here.

If you would like to book your vehicle in for any maintenance, servicing or repairs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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