New Highway Code Rules for 2022: Everything You Need to Know
The new Highway Code rule changes resulted from a public consultation that took place between July and October 2020 to improve road safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders alike. The consultation saw 20,000 respondents among the general public, businesses, and organisations who voted in favour of all the changes proposed.
The new changes have come into effect on the 28th of January 2022 and will need to be observed by all road users.
There are five new changes to take into consideration:
1. Hierarchy of Road Users
Three new rules have been introduced as part of this category:
Rule H1 (Danger on the Road): States that drivers are the ones who can cause the most significant harm in the event of a collision and that they bear the greatest responsibility when it comes to taking care of and reducing dangers to others around them.
Rule H2 (Pedestrians Crossing): Highlighting that at junctions, drivers should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross on a road into which they are turning.
The 2022 Highway Code says that if pedestrians have started crossing the road and drivers want to turn into the road, pedestrians crossing have priority, and the traffic should give way to them. Lastly, when it comes to pedestrians on a zebra and parallel crossing, drivers, motorcyclists, and cyclists, must give way to pedestrians waiting to cross.
Rule H3 (Cyclists Priority): This rule highlights the new priority that cyclists and horse riders have when vehicles or motorcycles are turning. When a vehicle is now turning into or out of a junction, as well as changing direction/lane, they are not allowed to cut across vulnerable road users like cyclists and horse riders, but instead, should give way to them, regardless of whether they are on a cycle lane, or riding ahead of them on the road.
These are probably among the most significant changes we’ve seen in the updated Highway Code this year.
However, there are still other changes worth being aware of.
2. Cycling, Walking and Riding in Shared Spaces
About this area, the new Highway Code guidance says that cyclists and horse riders should respect the safety of people walking in areas where the spaces are shared (i.e. not passing pedestrians at high speeds), but also that pedestrians should take care not to obstruct cyclists and horse riders paths. Also, always remember that some people may be visually impaired or deaf, so always take the utmost care when riding in shared spaces.
3. Cyclists’ Position on the Road
The 2022 Highway Code also sets guidance concerning cyclists’ position when riding on the road, one of the most misunderstood rules of this year’s update.
Riders can cycle in the centre of the road only on quiet roads, in slow-moving traffic, and on narrow roads. They shouldn’t cycle in the middle of the lane under any other circumstance, like on a fast-moving road (i.e. 60 mph roads), country roads, or roads rich in bends and turns, as this may put themselves and other road users in danger.
4. Overtaking a Cyclist when Driving a Vehicle
A controversial area in which a bit of clarity is due is what to do in the event of overtaking cyclists when driving a moving vehicle. Even concerning this area, this year’s Highway Code update comes in handy by stating that a driver may cross the double white line in the middle of the road to overtake cyclists or horse riders should they be traveling at less than 10 mph and when safe to do so. The update also defines the different distances you’re allowed as a driver to pass cyclists, horse riders, and pedestrians (in the absence of pavement):
- 5ft (1.5 meters) when passing a cyclist going up to 30 mph
- 6.5ft (2 meters) when passing a horse rider going under 10 mph
- 6.5ft (2 meters) when passing pedestrians on the road in the absence of pavement
5. Parking and Charging Recommendations
The updated 2022 Highway Code also recommends a new technique to apply when leaving a car, called “Dutch Reach”, consisting of opening the vehicle’s door using the hand on the opposite side to the door you’re opening, as this would allow drivers to turn around and look for cyclists or pedestrians passing by thus reducing the risk of injury to such parties.
The update also encompasses how an electric charger should be used, recommending drivers to park close to the charging point in order to avoid charging cables turning into hazards for pedestrians; displaying a warning sign whenever possible and lastly, once the charging has been completed, neatly return the charging cables for others to use, in order to avoid creating an obstacle for other road users.
These are the most significant changes we thought we’d make you aware of. However, 10 sections and a total of 50 rules of the Highway Code have been added or updated. If you’re interested in finding out more about it, please click here.
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