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New Highway Code

Are you aware of the new highway code changes that are  expected to come into place on January 29, under the assumption it receives parliamentary consent.. The Department for Transport will be introducing eight new rules for British drivers to follow in planned updates to the Highway Code, as well as 49 updates to existing rules. The new rules are to establish a “hierarchy of road users”  which  puts “vulnerable” road users at the top in order to prioritise road users most at risk of serious collisions, such as cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders. For the first time, the law will require those who can do the greatest harm to others to have a higher level of responsibility to reduce the danger for example that someone driving  will have more responsibility to look out for cyclists, people walking or riding a horse, and cyclists will have more responsibility to be aware of pedestrians. There is also clearer guidance for drivers to leave a minimum distance of at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists.

This new hierarchy of priority is as follows:

  1. Pedestrians
  2. Cyclists
  3. Horse Riders
  4. Motorcyclists
  5. Cars/taxis
  6. Vans/minibuses
  7. Large passenger vehicles or courier vehicles like buses and HGVs

Pedestrians are placed at the top of the pyramid as they pose the least risk to users of the road whereas those towards the bottom pose the most risk to those both within the vehicle.

According to the Department for Transport, the key amendments to the code are:

  • Introducing a hierarchy of road users to ensure those who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others.
  • Clarifying existing rules on pedestrian priority on pavements to advise that drivers and riders should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross the road
  • Providing guidance on cyclist priority at junctions to advise drivers to give priority when travelling straight ahead.
  • Establishing guidance on safe passing distances and speeds when overtaking cyclists and horse riders.

The full list can be found here 

The full Highway Code is more than 150 pages long with more than 300 rules.  If the proposed changes are approved by Parliament, the Highway Code will be updated by the DVSA and the new rules will be included in the next print run of the Code. This Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales. The Highway Code is essential reading for everyone. Many of the rules in the Code are legal requirements, and if you disobey these rules you are committing a criminal offence. You may be fined, given penalty points on your licence or be disqualified from driving

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