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TheThursday 14 July 2022

The Highway Code changes for 2022: Do you know the new rules?

The Highway Code was updated on 29th January 2022. It offers new safety measures for cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians by setting out important amendments to how road users ought to behave. Changes to the Highway Code mean drivers need to give way to pedestrians at a junction, while cyclists must give way to people using a shared-use cycle track.

It is hoped that these changes will result in fewer accidents on our roads which we can only welcome.
In total, 10 sections of The Highway Code have been updated, with 50 rules being added or updated.
The Highway Code emphasises that it’s important that all road users: “are aware of The Highway Code; are considerate to other road users; understand their responsibility for the safety of others.”

However there are 8 changes you need to know about.

1. Hierarchy of road users
2. People crossing the road at junctions
3. Walking, cycling or riding in shared spaces
4. Positioning in the road when cycling
5. Overtaking when driving or cycling
6. People cycling at junctions
7. People cycling, riding a horse and driving horse-drawn vehicles on roundabouts
8. Parking, charging and leaving vehicles


1. Hierarchy of Road Users

The most significant change to the code is that a hierarchy of road users has been established, with those who pose the greatest risk to others having the greatest responsibility to reduce that risk whilst using the highway. The hierarchy is set out (in order of those having the greatest responsibility first) as:

1. HGVs and large passenger vehicles
2. Vans and minibuses
3. Cars and taxis
4. Motorcyclists
5. Horse riders
6. Cyclists
7. Pedestrians

2. People crossing the road at junctions

According to the You Gov website the updated code clarifies 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 people crossing have priority and the traffic should give way

people driving, riding a motorcycle or cycling must give way to people on a zebra crossing and people walking and cycling on a parallel crossing

A parallel crossing is similar to a zebra crossing, but includes a cycle route alongside the black and white stripes.”

3. Walking, cycling or riding in shared spaces

A few areas may be shared being used simultaneously by pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. The new guidance says that cyclists, horse riders and horse-drawn carriages should give way to pedestrians. In addition, it also says that pedestrians should not obstruct or endanger other space users. The guidance indicates that cyclists should not:

• pass people walking, riding a horse or driving a horse-drawn vehicle closely or at high speed, particularly from behind
• pass a horse on its left

and they should:
• slow down when necessary and let people walking know they are there (for example, by ringing their bell)
• remember that people walking may be deaf, blind or partially sighted.

4. Positioning in the road when cycling


Cyclists are given additional guidance about whereabouts they ride on the road which 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

The updated code explains that people cycling in groups:
• should be considerate of the needs of other road users when riding in groups and can ride 2 abreast. There is a responsibility on the cyclists and they should be aware of drivers behind them and as necessary allow them to overtake when it’s safe to do so e.g. By stopping or moving into single file.

People cycling passing parked vehicles
The updated code explains that people cycling should:
• take care and leave enough room (a door’s width or 1 metre) when passing parked vehicles to avoid being hit by a car door if it is opened
• watch out for people walking into their path.

5. Overtaking when driving or cycling

Safe distances and speeds for motorists (including motorcyclists) passing other road users are given in the new guidance. Drivers and riders should:

• leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking a cyclist and when travelling at speeds up to 30 MPH, giving more space if you are travelling faster
• leave at least 2 metres and keep at a low speed when passing people walking in the road
• leave at least 2 metres and pass horse riders or horse-drawn carriages at speeds of under 10 MPH
• wait behind these other road users if it is not safe to overtake or use appropriate clearances.

You may cross a double white line if necessary and the road is clear if you are overtaking a cyclist or horse rider that is travelling at less than 10 MPH.

The new rules also say that a cyclist may pass slower moving or stationary traffic (on their left or their right) but must be cautious as the driver of any such vehicle may not be able to see them. However, the guidance says that cyclists should only pass stationary or slow-moving large vehicles on the left.

6. People cycling at junctions

When turning into or out of a side road cyclists ought to give way to pedestrians who are crossing or waiting to cross.
It’s recommended that cyclists use the special cycle facilities which are provided at some junctions which allow cyclists to move separately from or before other traffic to make their journey safer and easier.

There is also new guidance for people cycling at junctions with no separate facilities. Cyclists should proceed as if they were driving a vehicle including positioning themselves in the centre of their chosen lane, where they feel able to do this safely. This will make them as visible as possible and avoid them being overtaken where this would be dangerous.

People cycling have priority when going straight ahead at junctions.

Cyclists going straight ahead at a junction have priority over traffic waiting to turn into or out of a side road.

Cyclists going straight ahead at a junction have priority over traffic waiting to turn into or out of a side road, unless road signs or markings indicate otherwise.

People cycling are asked to watch out for people driving intending to turn across their path.

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

Drivers or motorcyclists ought to give priority to cyclists, horse riders or those driving horse-drawn vehicles. 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

Drivers should take extra care when entering a roundabout to ensure that they do not cut across cyclists, horse riders or people driving a horse-drawn vehicle who are proceeding around the roundabout in the left-hand lane.

8. Parking, charging and leaving vehicles

The code recommends a new ‘Dutch Reach’ technique to open your door when exiting your vehicle.

Drivers or passengers in a vehicle should open the door using their hand on the opposite side to the door they are opening. Thus forcing them to look over their shoulder behind them and be less likely to cause injury to passing cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians.

With regards to using an electric vehicle charge point some advice given in the code is to:
• 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, minimise the danger to others by returning charging cables and connectors neatly.

Some of the rules in the Code are legal requirements. This means that if you disobey these rules you are committing a criminal offence. You could be given penalty points on your licence, be fined or be disqualified from driving. In the most serious cases you may be sent to prison. So it’s a very good reason to take a look at the new rules and make sure you understand and follow them ensuring safety for all on our roads.

Please contact Swindon Accident Solicitors on 01793 425595 for a FREE, no obligation consultation on how to make a claim for compensation.

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