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New Highway Code Rules For 2022

The Highway code promotes road safety in the UK by outlining a list of rules, expectations, advice and guidance that all road users must abide by. Whilst most people have a good understanding of what they need to know when learning to drive, it can be easy to push the rules of the road to the back of your mind as driving becomes second nature.

To ensure the code is relevant to an evolving society, driving habits and technology, it is regularly updated. With new sections on electric cars, the hierarchy of road users and overtaking distances, regardless of how long you have been using the roads, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians must ensure that they take the time to familiarise themselves with new safety rules as they come in.

With 8 new rules brought in from January 2022 alone, here are the main new highway code rules that you need to be aware of, with a summary below.

  1. Hierarchy Of Road Users

With so many road users to keep safe, the hierarchy of road users places those with the highest risk of being injured in a road accident at the top of the hierarchy. Pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists, with children, older adults and disabled people are more at risk so the updated rules cover the prioritisation of these groups in common road scenarios like junctions.

View the full updates to rules H1, H2 & H3 in more detail.

Crossing The Road At Junctions

This update to the highway code makes it clear that pedestrians take priority over all types of traffic including drivers, motorcycles and cyclists when waiting to cross the road or crossing at a junction.

Shared spaces

With people, bikes and animals sharing the same space, it’s important to understand the rules to keep all users sharing the same routes and spaces safe.

Pedestrians shouldn’t obstruct cyclists or horse riders and those people should respect the safety of the walkers in the same space.

Road Positioning When Cycling

Road positioning when cycling

  • Cyclists should keep 0.5 metres away from the kerb edge and further when riding on busy roads with faster-moving vehicles.
  • Groups of cyclists can ride 2 abreast but should be aware of road users behind them and allow them to overtake when it’s safe to do so
  • Cyclists should leave enough room when passing parked vehicles to allow room for a door to be opened. (around 1 metre) and should be aware of people walking into their path.

Overtaking When Driving Or Cycling

Overtaking is dangerous but sometimes necessary. The updated rules clarify safe passing distances and speeds when overtaking vulnerable road users such as horse riders, cyclists and pedestrians.

  • Double white lines can be crossed (if the road is clear) to overtake a cyclist or horse rider travelling at 10 mph or less.
  • Overtaking distances should be 1.5m at least when overtaking cyclists travelling at 30 mph
  • Overtaking distances should be at least 2m when passing horse riders or horse-drawn vehicles moving under 10mph
  • At least 2m should be given when passing pedestrians walking on the road, which often happens on country lanes with no pavement.
  • If these clearance distances can’t be safely met, you must wait behind the slower road user and not overtake until it is safe to do so.
  • Cyclists can pass slower-moving stationary traffic on both sides but must do this with caution, particularly at junctions or passing large vehicles like lorries as it’s harder for them to be seen.

Cycling At Junctions

  • Cyclists must give way to pedestrians waiting to cross when turning into or exiting side roads.
  • When cycling lanes and cycle traffic lights exist, bike users are encouraged to use these to keep themselves safer and easier to be seen.
  • When no cycle lane exists, bike users are advised to position themselves in the centre of their lane if safe to do so. This makes them easier to be seen and harder to overtake, which can be dangerous.
  • Cyclists have priority over traffic waiting to turn when going straight ahead at junctions

Roundabout Safety For Cyclists, Horse Riders & Horse-Drawn Vehicles

Drivers and motorcyclists should give property to cyclists and horse riders on roundabouts. This means no attempt to overtake within a lane should be made, and motor vehicle users should allow the more vulnerable people to cross their path as they travel around the roundabout.

Horse-drawn vehicles are already allowed to stay in the left-hand lane for the full roundabout but the guidance is updated to let people know that extra care must be given when sharing a roundabout with these road users to ensure they do not cut across them.

Parking, Electric Vehicle Charging & Getting Out Of Vehicles Safely

Getting out of a car or other vehicle can be dangerous for other road users who may be passing the vehicle you are leaving. As such, the code has been updated with the recommendation to use the ‘Dutch Reach’ technique when getting out of a vehicle.

This means, where possible people should use the opposite hand to the side of the door they are opening to operate the door. For example, if leaving the car from the driver’s seat on the right-hand side of the car, the left hand should be used to open the door. This action forces the person to turn their head which means they can see people coming on the road or pavement before exiting, therefore meaning they are less likely to cause an injury.

Electric charging point guidance has been included for the first time to ensure the safety of road users around these points. The updates cover parking close to the charging point to remove trip hazards, displaying warning notices if you can and properly returning cables to their points.

Staying In The Know

View the 50 new rules across 20 sections of the Highway code here

We know people have busy lives, but to ensure that everyone knows how to stay safe on the roads it’s important that we all take our responsibility to keep on top of Highway code updates seriously. The easiest way to do this is to sign up to get email alerts when the rules change or to follow The Highway Code on Facebook

Motoring Lawyer at Caddick Davies Solicitors
Caddick Davies is recognised as one of England and Wales’ leading motoring law firms, offering specialist Speeding Solicitors, Drink Driving Solicitors & Dangerous Driving Solicitors.We provide advice and representation on all motoring offences including speeding, the avoidance of disqualification on penalty points or “totting up” (exceptional hardship), driving without due care and attention (careless driving), dangerous driving, drink driving, as well as a range of services related to medical revocation of a driving licence.
Neil Davies

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