Highway Code Update January 2022

Hierarchy of Road Users (January 2022)

Highway Code Update 2022

The UK’s Highway Code is due to be updated on January 29, 2022, to place those most at risk in the event of a collision, priority in terms of the hierarchy of road users.

The hierarchy does not negate the need for road users to act responsibly. Road users most likely to be injured in the event of a collision are, in this order, pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists, with children, older adults and disabled people being more at risk.

The objective of the hierarchy is not to give priority to pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders in every situation, but rather to ensure a more mutually respectful and considerate culture of safe and effective road use that benefits all users.

The alterations are set out in full here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1041273/the-highway-code-alteration-to-the-highway-code.pdf

Although we have paid particular attention to drivers and cyclists in our summary, we would strongly urge readers to familiarise themselves with all of the new amendments in view of  the significant changes.

Rule H1:

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. Everyone suffers when road collisions occur, whether they are physically injured or not. But those in charge of vehicles that can cause the greatest harm in the event of a collision bear the greatest responsibility to take care and reduce the danger they pose to others.

This principle applies most strongly to drivers of large goods and passenger vehicles, vans/minibuses, cars/taxis and motorcycles. Cyclists, horse riders and drivers of horse drawn vehicles likewise have a responsibility to reduce danger to pedestrians.

H2 creates clearer and stronger priorities for pedestrians, particularly at junctions, and clarify where pedestrians have right of way, whilst Rule H3 places a requirement on drivers to give priority to cyclists when they are turning into or out of a junction, or changing direction or lane, just as they would to other motor vehicles.

Rule H3:

Rule for drivers and motorcyclists:

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 Rules for pedestrians Rule 1 Pavements and footways (including any path along the side of a road) should be used if provided.

Where possible, avoid being next to the kerb with your back to the traffic. If you have to step into the road, look both ways first. Always remain aware of your environment and avoid unnecessary distractions. Always show due care and consideration for others.

 

A total of 49 existing rules are due to be updated, alongside new Rules.

Additionally, the ‘Using the Road’ chapter of The Highway Code will be updated to:

  1. reinforce the message that drivers have a duty of care towards cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders and should give way to these road users
  2. establish clear priority rules at traffic signal junctions
  3. provide advice on interactions between drivers and cyclists at roundabouts and at different types of junctions
  4. introduce safe passing distances and speed limits when overtaking pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders, horse drawn vehicles and motorcyclists

 

The ‘Rules for Cyclists’ chapter of The Highway Code will be updated to:

  • include references to cycle tracks, cycle signals and new junction designs
  • amend the wording on Advanced Stop Lines
  • clarify the priority cyclists have over other vehicles when going straight ahead at a junction
  • provide advice on cyclist behaviours when riding on a shared use route and giving pedestrians priority
  • recommend that cyclists give way to pedestrians waiting to cross the road at a side road or junctions
  • strengthen advice around the value of cycle training
  • expand the rules on safe riding and crossing busy roads, including recommended procedures for cycling at roundabouts and road positioning.

The new text within the ‘Rules for cyclists’ chapter of The Highway Code will state that evidence suggests that wearing a cycle helmet will reduce the risk of sustaining a head injury in certain circumstances (Rule 59).

Rule 63 provides guidance on cycling in shared spaces. The new text will read:

“Sharing space with pedestrians, horse riders and horse drawn vehicles. When riding in places where sharing with pedestrians, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles is permitted take care when passing pedestrians, especially children, older adults or disabled people. Let them know you are there when necessary e.g. by ringing your bell (it is recommended that a bell is fitted to your bike), or by calling out politely.

Remember that pedestrians may be deaf, blind or partially sighted and that this may not be obvious.

Do not pass pedestrians, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles closely or at high speed, particularly from behind. Remember that horses can be startled if passed without warning. Always be prepared to slow down and stop when necessary.”

Rule 66 is added to ensure cyclists are considerate towards horse riders, along with the following text:

“[cyclists’ should] ride in single file when drivers wish to overtake and it is safe to let them do so. When riding in larger groups on narrow lanes, it is sometimes safer to ride two abreast.”

The amended Rule 67 deals with manoeuvring, to ensure that cyclists should:

  • “make sure it is safe before moving away from the kerb, when pulling out to overtake or to pass stationary vehicles, or when turning at junctions or stopping
  • watch out for obstructions in the road, such as drains, service covers and pot-holes, positioning yourself so you can move to the left (as well as to the right) to avoid them safely
  • take care when passing parked vehicles, leaving enough room (a door’s width or 0.5m) to avoid being hit if a door opens unexpectedly, and watch out for pedestrians stepping into your path
  • not ride too close behind another vehicle, in case it stops suddenly
  • proceed with caution when passing to the left of large vehicles as the driver may not be able to see you.”

It will be useful to all drivers to read about the rules of positioning of cyclists on our roads:

The Rules stress that there are two basic road positions cyclists should adopt, depending on the situation:

1/1.      Ride in the centre of your lane, to make yourself as clearly visible as possible, in the following situations:

─ on quiet roads or streets – if a faster vehicle comes up behind you, move to the left to enable them to overtake, if you can do so safely

─ in slower-moving traffic move over to the left if you can do so safely so that faster vehicles behind you can overtake when the traffic around you starts to flow more freely

─ at the approach to junctions or road narrowings where it would be unsafe for drivers to overtake you

2/ When riding on busy roads, with vehicles moving faster than you, allow them to overtake where it is safe to do so whilst keeping at least 0.5m away from the kerb edge. Remember that traffic on most dual carriageways moves quickly. Take extra care crossing slip roads.

The Rules deal with many other aspect of cyclist using roads, including manouvering, placing, cycle lanes, the absence of designated lanes and the fitness of bicycles to be riding upon roads, all of which will provide our drivers with the awareness required to remain safe and vigilant.

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