Highway code changes
Well, who knew that a few simple changes would cause such a stir and divide with drivers and cyclists alike, with the highway code being the latest bone of contention? The latest rule changes come into effect on 29th January 2022 and are primarily focused on the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders.
Unsurprisingly we’ve witnessed the usual scattering of comments directed towards cyclists from some drivers, most forgetting that these cyclists are usually drivers too that sometimes choose to use an eco-friendlier mode of transport occasionally on the roads.
So, what do drivers need to know? Firstly, and most importantly the hierarchy is changing, vehicles must give way at junctions to pedestrians and cyclists and allow them to cross first. This is an important change as it’s vitally important that we protect and give way to those that are more vulnerable on the road.
The positioning of cyclists on the road will change, instead of them cycling near to the kerb, they are advised to stay in the centre of the lane. If you’ve every cycled on the main roads, you’d understand how this will come as a very welcome change to cyclists as more often than not the edge near the pathway is full of potholes, which cause significant danger to cyclists. Cars must wait until it’s safe to overtake and allow a gap of at least 5m. You may also see cyclists in pairs side by side on the road now too as that’s advised as opposed to single file behind one another. You can now overtake whilst there is a double white line too, providing its to pass a cyclist or horse rider travelling at less than 10mph and it is of course, safe to do so.
Now, I was quite surprised that drivers didn’t already automatically comply with this one. I remember learning this when taking my theory test back in 1997, when asked if a cyclist was in the left-hand lane at a roundabout, which direction should I expect them to go? The answer was any direction. I’ve always sat back behind a cyclist and allowed them to leave the roundabout before overtaking them. Now whilst drivers were asked to be aware of cyclists on the inner of a roundabout turning off, this apparently wasn’t already a rule to sit behind them.
The highway agency has criticised the Government with the lack of exposure that the new rules have received. Whilst these rules come into effect soon, are all drivers aware of them?
Make sure that you stay up to date with the latest rules, more information can be found here:- https://www.gov.uk/government/news/the-highway-code-8-changes-you-need-to-know-from-29-january-2022