Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
4:00 AM 29th January 2022

The Highway Code Gets An Update – All You Need To Know

From 29th January, rules for all types of road users will be updated in The Highway Code, the aim being to improve the safety of people walking, cycling, and riding horses.

How many of us regularly look at the code, to make sure we keep up to date with any changes? Not many is my guess. I would suggest now is a good time to check out not only these far-reaching new changes, but also the rules of the road in general.

What’s New?

The changes being made by the government introduce a new ‘hierarchy of road users’. What this means is that those in charge of vehicles that can cause the greatest harm in the event of a collision bear the greatest responsibility to take care and reduce the danger they pose to others.

The principle applies most strongly to drivers of large goods and passenger vehicles, cars, and motorcycles.

Other more vulnerable road users have a responsibility to reduce the danger to people walking. None of this distracts from the responsibility of all road users, including people walking, cycling, or riding a horse, to have regard for their own and other road users’ safety.

The Highway Code Now Says:

Giving people walking across and people cycling going straight ahead priority when turning in and out of junctions.
Leaving at least 1.5 metres when overtaking people cycling at speeds up to 30mph and giving them more space when overtaking at higher speeds.
Passing people riding a horse or driving a horse-drawn vehicle at speeds under 10mph and allow at least 2 metres of space.
Allowing at least 2 metres of space and keep to a low speed when passing a person who is walking in the road.
Encouraging people driving their vehicles to open their doors with the hand furthest from the door, to help them look over their shoulder behind them to see people cycling or walking nearby.
People cycling may ride in the centre of the road or two abreast for their own safety, whilst allowing others to overtake when it is safe for them to do so.

It is important that everyone understands their responsibility for the safety of other road users. It should be noted that many of the rules in the code are legal requirements and if you disobey them, you may be committing a criminal offence.

Furthermore, if you do not follow the other rules in the code, it can be used in evidence in court proceedings to establish liability.

Clearly there needs to be some give and take. Many of the country lanes in my neck of the woods are extremely narrow and leaving the required room nigh on impossible.
Most cyclists will move over as far as possible and if the car driver passes slowly, all should be well.