A major overhaul of the Highway Code came into force this weekend. The aim is to improve road safety and it affects all road users.
This includes motorists, pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders and a total of eight sections of the Highway Code have changed.
An update to the digital version of the Highway Code is now live and an update to the printed version is due in April.
Many people are still unaware of the changes despite being regular road users. Here are the ways it affects you:
WHO HAS PRIORITY ON ROADS?
The new Highway Code has a different hierarchy for road users. Pedestrians are now at the top of the chain. Those who have a greater risk of injury are now at the top.
- Horse riders
- Large vehicles/trucks
Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC, said: “These major changes to The Highway Code should make the roads safer for the most vulnerable road users, in particular, those walking and cycling, so are to be welcomed. But it’s vitally important that all road users – especially drivers – take the time to fully understand what’s new as some of the changes are a significant departure from what’s gone before. For instance, drivers turning into a road should now give way to any pedestrians waiting to cross.”
PEDESTRIANS AND THE HIGHWAY CODE
Pedestrians have the right of way when crossing any road. Cyclists should also give way when pedestrians are waiting to cross a road. This includes all dedicated crossing points (zebra crossings and parallel crossings).
CYCLISTS AND THE HIGHWAY CODE
Cyclists now have priority over cars waiting to turn. If a cyclist is at a junction and plans to cycle straight across, a turning car must give the cyclist priority. This also applies to roundabouts. Cyclists have priority over cars.
Cyclists should slow down when necessary and let people walking know they are there (for example, by ringing their bell). They should not overtake pedestrians or horse riders closely at high speed.
Cyclists can ride in the centre of the lane in some situations, such as on quiet roads. But if overtaking a stationary car must leave a one-metre gap. This will prevent them from being hit if a car door is opened.
MOTORISTS AND THE HIGHWAY CODE
There is updated guidance on safe passing distances and speeds for people driving or riding a motorcycle when overtaking vulnerable road users. Leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking at speeds up to 30mph, and two metres space at speeds higher than 30mph. Leave at least two metres when overtaking pedestrians walking on a road with no pavement.
When in slow-moving traffic or a traffic jam, pedestrians now have a right to cross in front of motorists. If people have started crossing and traffic wants to turn into the road, the people crossing have priority and the traffic should give way.
When opening any door drivers or passengers must always use the opposite arm. For example, use your right arm if you are opening a door to your left. This encourages car users to look over their shoulder before exiting the vehicle.
The Highway Code now includes guidance on electric vehicles. It states that electric vehicle users should:
- park close to the charge point and avoid creating a trip hazard for people walking from trailing cables
- display a warning sign if you can
- return charging cables and connectors neatly to minimise the danger to other people and avoid creating an obstacle for other road users
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON’T ABIDE BY THE NEW RULES?
If you break the rules, you could face penalty points or a disqualification. If you do not follow the other rules in the code, it can be used in evidence in court proceedings to establish liability.
We have experience in dealing with compensation claims for road traffic incidents. Our solicitors will provide FREE legal consultations for injuries caused by an accident involving a motorist, cyclist, pedestrian or motorcyclist.
Advice is from qualified solicitors, regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Contact us today:
Call – 03330 112732
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Website – www.nvlegal.co.uk