What Are The New Highway Code Rules?

From January 2022, the Highway Code will receive an update to reflect new rules designed to protect the most vulnerable road users. Termed ‘The Hierarchy of Road Users’, it will prioritise those at most risk when using the roads, including pedestrians and cyclists.  

 When Do the New Highway Code Rules Start? 

The New Highway Code rules start from the 29th January 2022. 

The New Rules Have Been Split into 3 Main Rules, H1, H2 and H3

Rule H1 in the Hierarchy of Road Users puts an increased level of responsibility on the drivers of larger vehicles to look after more vulnerable road users. 

‘Those in charge of vehicles that can cause the most significant 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 the drivers of large goods vehicles, passenger vehicles, vans, minibuses, cars, taxis, vehicles used for hire and reward and motorcycles

The rule also indicates that horse riders and cyclists have a duty to look after pedestrians. Of course, the new rule also stresses that all road users have a duty of care to themselves to ensure their own safety as well as that of others.  

 The Second New Highway Code Rule H2

New rule H2 is for drivers, motorbike riders, horse riders and cyclists: and states that ‘At a junction, you should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from which you are turning.’

This means that if you turn into a junction and a pedestrian is waiting to cross the road, you’ll need to give way to them. Cyclists also need to give way to pedestrians on shared cycle tracks. 

 The Third New Rule H3

The third update is aimed at drivers and motorcyclists and states

‘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.’ 

This means that you shouldn’t turn into a junction if in doing so you would cut across a cause a horse rider or cyclist. The advice is instead to wait for an appropriate gap in the traffic. 

 What Other Rules Have Changed as Part of the Highway Code Update? 

 Several new rules have been updated for cyclists who are now advised to 

– Ride in the centre of their lane to make them more visible when on quieter roads, in slow-moving traffic or when it would be unsafe for a vehicle to overtake them 

– On busy roads, cyclists are now advised to leave as much space as possible for vehicles to overtake them

 You can find more information on all the highway code updates at the gov.uk website here. 

 What do these Highway Code Changes Mean for Me? 

 The highway changes are not a change in the law as the highway code is an advisory document. However, The Highway Code can be used in court to help establish the liability of an accident under the Road Traffic Act. The RTA includes rules that state what you should/shouldn’t do when using the roads. 

 Drivers who are found at fault for an accident can face driving convictions and charges in court if the accident was caused by failing to comply with the highway code. 

 If you have had accidents or convictions you may find that your insurance premiums increase, get in touch today for a specialist convicted driver quote.