There are major changes happening to the Highway Code from 29 January 2022.
The new rules are split into three main categories and ultimately aim to improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.
Rule H1: New Hierarchy of Road Users
Rule H2: New priority for pedestrians at junctions
Rule H3: New priority for cyclists when cars are turning
...and in case you missed it, there's also been a change in the law in relation to the use of mobile phones. Announced by the Government on 19 November, the new laws make it illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving under 'virtually any circumstance' from 2022.
The move is designed to bring the laws into the 21st century - banning drivers from using their phones to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games.
For more information visit Government website.
The aim of The Highway Code is to promote safety on the road, whilst also supporting a healthy, sustainable and efficient transport system.
Hierarchy of Road Users: The 'Hierarchy of Road Users' is a concept which places those road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy. The road users most likely to be injured in the event of a collision are pedestrians, in particular children, older adults and disabled people, followed by cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists. The hierarchy does not remove the need for everyone to behave responsibly.
Rule H1: New Hierarchy of Road Users (left) Drivers 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 to others. This principle applies most strongly to drivers of HGVs, LGVs, cars/taxis and motorcycles. Cyclists and horse riders likewise have a responsibility to reduce danger to pedestrians.
Rule H2: New priority for pedestrians at junctions At a junction, drivers, motorcyclists, horse riders and cyclists should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from which you are turning. You should give way to pedestrians waiting to cross a zebra crossing (currently you only have to give way if they're already on the crossing), and to pedestrians and cyclists waiting to cross a parallel crossing.
Rule H3: New priority for cyclists when cars are turning 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 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.
The new rule to give priority to cyclists going straight ahead does not seek to change the law but rather to ensure a more mutually respectful and considerate culture of safe and effective road use that benefits all users. You should not cut across a cyclist just like you would not cut across another motorist.
Although failure to comply with the 'advisory rules' of the Code will not, in itself, cause a person to be prosecuted, The Highway Code may be used in evidence in any court proceedings (under the Traffic Acts) to establish liability. This includes the rules which use advisory wording such as 'should/should not' or 'do/do not'.
Enforcement of the law is a matter for the police who will decide, on the evidence of each individual case, whether an offence has been committed and the appropriate action to take.
For full details of the changes visit the Government website.