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Changes to the Highway Code 2022

To help reduce the number of accidents on the road, the Highway Code has been updated with new rules which came into effect on Saturday 29th January 2022.

Under the new code, pedestrians gain priority when crossing junctions while cyclists have priority when passing a turning car, under a new hierarchy of road users.


What are the biggest changes to the Highway Code?

The new hierarchy of road users is the most significant change and is split up into three rules:

New hierarchy of road users

Drivers of vehicles that can cause the greatest harm in the event of a collision bear the greatest responsibility to take care and reduce danger to others. This means people facing the biggest risk in the event of a collision (pedestrians and cyclists) are prioritised above motorists.

The full hierarchy of road users is:

  1. Pedestrians
  2. Cyclists
  3. Horse riders
  4. Motorcyclists
  5. Cars/taxis
  6. Vans/minibuses
  7. Larger vehicles such as HGVs and buses


New priority for pedestrians at junctions

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

You must give way to pedestrians waiting to cross or crossing a zebra crossing, and to pedestrians and cyclists waiting to cross or crossing a parallel crossing.


New priority for cyclists when cars are turning

Drivers should not cut across cyclists or horse riders going straight ahead when turning into or out of a junction. This applies whether they are using a cycle lane, a cycle track, or riding ahead on the road; drivers should give way.




What other rules have been introduced?

  • Cyclists are advised to ride in the centre of their lane to make themselves more visible on quiet roads and in slow moving traffic, but they must move over to the left safely if a faster vehicle approaches behind them or flow of traffic speeds up.
  • When passing bicycles at speeds of up to 30mph, drivers should stay at least 1.5-metres away from them; above that speed you should leave even more space.
  • Drivers are encouraged to use their left hand to open their door when parked (on a right-hand-drive car). This is to give you more visibility when opening the door into moving traffic.
  • Drivers should take extra care when entering roundabouts to make sure you do not cut across cyclists.
  • Electric car owners using a public charge point should park near the device and avoid creating a trip hazard from trailing cables.




What are the penalties for not abiding by the new code?

Many of the Highway Code rules are backed up by law, meaning you can be fined, prosecuted, or disqualified if you ignore them. Points supported by the law are identified in the code with wording like ‘must’ and ‘must not’.

Failure to comply with the other advisory rules (identified with wording like ‘should’ and ‘should not’) will not directly cause a person to be prosecuted – but it can be used as evidence in any court proceedings to establish liability.

The Highway Code sets out everything you need to know to ensure the safety of yourself and others on the road, so it’s extremely important to follow the guidance in its entirety.


Disclaimer: The information in the article is for general purpose information only and should not be constituted as legal advice. This article has been produced by a third party and Jardine Motors does not take any responsibility for the completeness, accuracy, or reliability with respect to the website or the information provided. Article last updated February 2022.


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