From roundabouts to cyclists, the new Highway Code rules will have a big impact on how road users operate in 2022. Here are the key Highway Code changes to keep in mind when going from the front…
On January 29, 2022, the UK government is introducing some simple changes to traffic laws that will help protect pedestrians and cyclists.
The changes were implemented following an effort to make UK roads safer for the most vulnerable users.
There are three main changes motorists will need to bear in mind moving forward, but the government has also applied some small tweaks to the existing rules.
In the worst case, ignoring the rules and causing death by dangerous driving carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.
Reckless and reckless driving is punishable by an unlimited fine and discretionary disqualification, so understanding the rules of the road is essential for all motorists.
New rules of the highway code 2022
Changes to the road user hierarchy
When the new rules come into force, road users will be classified according to their vulnerability in the event of an accident.
Pedestrians are the most vulnerable, then cyclists, then cars, followed by heavy goods vehicles.
This means cyclists should beware of pedestrians, cars should watch out for cyclists and trucks should keep an eye out for cars.
The government says: “The aim of the hierarchy is not to give priority to pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians in all situations, but rather to ensure a more mutually respectful and considerate culture of safe and efficient use of the road that benefits all users”
It states: “This principle applies most strongly to drivers of large heavy goods vehicles and passenger vehicles, vans/minibuses, cars/taxis and motorcycles.”
Pedestrians have the right of way when crossing an intersection
Images from the press association)
This rule is probably the biggest change motorists will notice in the new guidelines. The new traffic law rule states that if a car is turning left at a junction where a pedestrian is waiting to cross, the car must stop and yield to the person crossing.
The change has been welcomed by some worried motorists, who fear it could cause collisions as cars wait to leave busy roads. However, these fears have not been supported by any data.
Roads can be dangerous in cold weather, especially when there is snow and ice. Here are some tips for driving safely in difficult conditions.
The government says the new rule serves to ‘create clearer and stronger priorities for pedestrians, particularly at junctions, and to clarify where pedestrians have priority’.
The new rule will also apply to pedestrians waiting to cross zebra crossings, as well as cyclists and pedestrians waiting to cross parallel crossings.
Motorists cannot cut off cyclists when turning left
Images from the press association)
This new rule means that drivers must give way to cyclists when turning at a junction, or changing direction or lanes, as they would any other motor vehicle.
The government breaks it down in simple terms: “Do not turn at a junction if doing so would cause the cyclist going straight to stop or swerve, as you would a motor vehicle.
Motorists should stop and wait for a cyclist to turn when the cyclist is:
- to approach, pass or move away from a crossroads
- overtake slow traffic
- drive around a roundabout
Additional changes to the Highway Code:
- Dutch litter – Motorists must open their door using the opposite arm, requiring them to look over their shoulder and notice oncoming cyclists
Road positioning of cyclists – Cyclists can now ride in the center of their lane to improve visibility, but must safely move to the left when a car wants to overtake
Overtaking another road user – Cars must leave at least 1.5 meters when passing cyclists at speeds of up to 30 mph.
Turn left – Cyclists are advised to keep an eye out for vehicles moving left ahead of them – they should not ride on the left side of any vehicle that could cut them off.