Eight new rules are being introduced to the Highway Code to improve road safety for vulnerable road users.
Due to be introduced on 29 January 2022, there will be 49 other updates to existing regulations too including . Read on to find out how it impacts you…
What new rules are being introduced to the Highway Code?
Out of the eight new rules being added to the Highway Code, the most significant changes are being made to the hierarchy of road users.
As per the results of the government consultation, the introduction to the Highway Code will be updated to include a:
- ‘Hierarchy of Road Users’ and new Rule H1 which ensures that those road users who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to other road users. So for example more responsibility is placed on drivers of larger vehicles to take greater care of vulnerable road users. This will ensure a more mutually respectful and considerate culture of safe and effective road use that benefits all users
- New Rule H2 to create clearer and stronger priorities for pedestrians at junctions, and clarify where pedestrians have right of way. The rule states ‘At a junction you should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from which you are turning.’
- New Rule H3 which places a requirement on drivers to give priority to cyclists when they are turning into or out of a junction, or changing direction or lane, just as they would to other motor vehicles. The rule 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.’
Other changes to the Highway Code further clarify sharing space with other road users, as well as when pedestrians have priority on the road, and ways other road users can make it clear they are present. Furthermore, cyclists are instructed to ride in the centre of their lane to make themselves more visible in slow moving traffic.
Further changes being introduced include a curb on flashing your lights so that you no longer ‘convey any other message or intimidate other road users.’
Tighter restrictions are also being introduced on mobile phone usage at the wheel, with a fixed £200 penalty notice and immediate six points on your license being enforced. For any new drivers who have just passed their test this would mean an immediate ban.
Though the rule changes are imposed wholesale, unless signed into law the highway code is advisory meaning a person can’t be prosecuted for not complying. Many of these changes are a matter of respect.
While IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s leading road safety charity, has welcomed some of the changes, the charity has cautioned that the new rules will be of very little benefit if the public aren’t made aware of them. This is partly why they have provided the above infographics.
Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart, commented: “The vast majority of people won’t have read the Highway Code for many years, meaning it is absolutely essential that changes are communicated in a simple, memorable and timely fashion. Unfortunately, this has not been the case so far, meaning there is now huge potential for more conflict on the roads rather than less.”