On the 29th of January 2022, the Department for Transport introduced a number of changes to The Highway Code, which will affect all road users. These measures were introduced in order to improve the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders, and it is important for drivers to be aware of them due to the fact this will affect when to give way and who has priority in slower moving traffic. These are outlined in The Highway Code and are legal requirements. If you break the rules this could result in a fine and penalty points on your licence, or even being disqualified from driving altogether. Allow us to walk you through the new laws and what you should do as a driver in certain situations.
Hierarchy of road users
The first section of the highway code has been updated to include a hierarchy of road users. This gives greater priority to cyclists and pedestrians, detailing that those most at risk in the event of an accident should be at the top of the hierarchy.If you are the driver of a van or HGV, you should take the most care as you hold the greatest responsibility.It also underlines that road users must behave responsibly at all times.
Crossing at junctions
This section of the law has been completely restructured to reverse the ruling on who has priority at a junction. It was previously the rule that pedestrians must wait at a junction if a vehicle is turning, however the updated code states that other traffic must give way when turning into a side road if pedestrians are crossing or waiting to cross. The existing rule remains that drivers, motorcyclists, and cyclists must give way to pedestrians at zebra crossings, or people walking and cycling at parallel crossings.
Cyclists on the road
New guidance on cyclists has been added to give further advice on where they can position themselves in certain situations. For example, cyclists should be riding in the centre of their lane on quiet roads, in slower moving traffic, and at the approach to junctions to prevent cars and other traffic overtaking at dangerous points. It also advises to ride at least 0.5 metres away from the kerb edge on busy roads when vehicles are passing at higher speeds. It is recommended to take care when passing stationary vehicles, leaving enough room should a car door open unexpectedly.
The Department for Transport has added extra guidance regarding overtaking vulnerable road users. A brief rundown of this is that you should leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph. Horses or horse-drawn vehicles require more care, with guidelines of 2 metres and speeds of up to 10mph. Pedestrians are also entitled to this distance when walking in the road and you must keep to a low speed.
Parking and leaving your vehicle
A new technique is recommended when leaving your vehicle, known as the ‘Dutch Reach’. This means that either the driver or passenger should open the door using their hand on the opposite side to the door they are opening. The idea behind this being that it encourages people to look over their shoulder as they are opening it, to avoid hitting an oncoming cyclist or pedestrian.
As well as obeying these new Highway Code guidelines, you will want to ensure your vehicle is in full working order when on the road so that you do not pose a risk to yourself and other road users. Here at Double Dee Autos, we offer comprehensive servicing and repairs to keep your car running at optimum condition. To get booked in with us, call 020 8460 3040 or email [email protected].