A number of changes to the Highway Code are being introduced tomorrow affecting road users across the UK.
The Highway Code, which contains advice and rules for people on Britain’s roads, is being amended this weekend to introduce a risk-based hierarchy of road users.
It’s not a static document, though, and is occasionally updated based on new learnings. For 2022, a series of updates have been introduced, largely focused on priorities for everyone from pedestrians to HGVs.
New Highway Code rules – roundabouts
The 'signals and position' section has been targeted in a January update - meaning drivers should give priority to pedestrians and cyclists.
The Highway Code states: “You should give priority to cyclists on the roundabout.
“They will be travelling more slowly than motorised traffic.
"Give them plenty of room and do not attempt to overtake them within their lane. Allow them to move across your path as they travel around the roundabout.
"Cyclists, horse riders and horse drawn vehicles may stay in the left-hand lane when they intend to continue across or around the roundabout and should signal right to show you, they are not leaving the roundabout.”
Drivers are also advised to take extra care when entering a roundabout and avoid cutting across certain road users. Among those listed in the Highway Code are cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles in the left-hand lane.
Rule 187 currently reads: "Give plenty of room to: cyclists and horse riders who may stay in the left-hand lane and signal right if they intend to continue round the roundabout.
“Allow them to do so.”
New Highway Code rules - ‘Hierarchy’ of road users
The main focus has been on creating a ‘hierarchy’ of road users, giving priority to those that are more vulnerable. It means those who can do the greatest harm to others have a higher level of responsibility to reduce the danger.
As an example of this, it is the responsibility of a car driver to be aware of cyclists.
New Highway Code rules – allowing pedestrians to cross the road
One rule change that has a good chance of creating some confusion – especially if not everyone is aware of it – is a new rule surrounding crossing priorities for pedestrians.
Now, when a car is turning into a road or exiting a road, they should stop to let pedestrians cross.
New Highway Code rules – The ‘Dutch Reach’
The Highway Code now includes a recommendation that you should open the door of a parked car using the ‘Dutch Reach’ method.
This involves using the opposite hand to the one that’s closest to the door, because it means you reach across your body and turn outwards. This means you naturally check what’s coming and reduces the risk of opening your door on a cyclist.