We look forward to the amended code improving priority for walking and cycling around Headington but, although the revisions will take effect at the end of this week, the government’s campaign to raise awareness of the changes isn’t planned to start until mid-February. With less than a week to go, an AA poll revealed an alarming 33% of drivers don’t know about the changes.
Unfortunately, this void of clear information from the Department of Transport has been filled with some misleading coverage in the media as implementation approaches. You can read about which of the changes introduce new rules, as opposed to merely clarifying or reinforcing existing ones, in this article by Peter Walker.
Key new elements
Auto Express provides a helpful summary of the key new rules as follows:
Rule H1: New Hierarchy of Road Users
Drivers 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 to others. This principle applies most strongly to drivers of HGVs, LGVs, cars/taxis and motorcycles. Cyclists and horse riders likewise have a responsibility to reduce danger to pedestrians.
Rule H2: New priority for pedestrians at junctions
At a junction, drivers, motorcyclists, horse riders and cyclists should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from which you are turning. You should give way to pedestrians waiting to cross a zebra crossing (currently you only have to give way if they’re already on the crossing), and to pedestrians and cyclists waiting to cross a parallel crossing.
Rule H3: New priority for cyclists when cars are turning
You should not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles going ahead when you are turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane. This applies whether they are using a cycle lane, a cycle track, or riding ahead on the road and you should give way to them. Do not turn at a junction if to do so would cause the cyclist, horse rider or horse drawn vehicle going straight ahead to stop or swerve. You should stop and wait for a safe gap in the flow of cyclists if necessary.
This series of clips from Better Ealing Streets also outlines the main updates:
We're so excited about the forthcoming changes to The Highway Code that we did this! (thread!) pic.twitter.com/sLzkKv8LXX— Better Ealing Streets (@BetterEaling) January 19, 2022
This change is really going to help people crossing side streets, especially where they meet main roads. pic.twitter.com/YuS4C3tHQJ— Better Ealing Streets (@BetterEaling) January 19, 2022
This updated advice will really help people who want to ride straight on past a junction on their left. pic.twitter.com/tzIfAjyACx— Better Ealing Streets (@BetterEaling) January 19, 2022
Zebra crossings should be a the last place people feel in danger, so this change really clarifies what should happen when approaching them. pic.twitter.com/TibFs5mRaC— Better Ealing Streets (@BetterEaling) January 19, 2022
You can view the government’s full table of changes and clarifications here.