When was the last time to you updated your driving knowledge and read the highway code? If it’s more than a couple of years ago I would be tempted to get yourself updated, especially with some of the new rules that are being introduced mid-January 2022. These new changes are some of the biggest changes in the Highway code in over thirty years! Some of which, in my opinion, will cause many accidents. Ignorance of the new rules and laws will not be a defence so please update your knowledge and stay safe. Let’s look at some of these new rules…
- Did you know there will now be a hierarchy of road users, the bigger your vehicle the more responsibility you will have.
- Pedestrian priority at junctions
- Cyclist priority at junctions and turns
- Pedestrian and cyclist priority at zebra crossings and parallel crossings
- Distance and clearance overtaking horses and cyclists
- Speeds overtaking horses and cyclists
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.
Graham Says… In my opinion this is one of the more sensible amendments to the Highway Code. Put simply the bigger your vehicle is the more responsible for others safety you will have to be. For example, HGV’s and buses will have more responsibility than a transit van, but he will have more responsibility than a car driver and so on with horse riders and cyclists taking more of the responsibility for the road safety when pedestrians are around. Does that make sense?
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 must give way if they’re already on the crossing), and to pedestrians and cyclists waiting to cross a parallel crossing.
Graham says…Now here’s where the fun begins. If you are turning left into a new road and a pedestrian is crossing the road you should stop and allow them to cross! (If they are paying more attention to their phone than you, it will still be YOUR fault. My advice… It may be a really good idea to check your mirror well before you do this, the driver behind you may not have read this blog post and not realise the changes and just plough into your back end as they weren’t expecting you to stop.
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.
Graham says ……. It has never been a good idea to overtake a cyclist on approach to a junction that you are going to turn left into! I think we will all agree that that would be downright dangerous. The new guidance (using the hierarchy rules) gives the cyclist the “right of way” and you should now allow the cyclist to pass on your inside before turning left. If you have never used your left mirror properly before now, I would recommend you start using it straight away.
Overtaking bicycles and horses…
The wording of rules regarding passing distances has been amended and now includes guidelines for overtaking pedestrians, cyclists, and horses. It now advises motorists to:
- Leave a minimum distance of 1.5m at speeds under 30mph.
- Leave a minimum distance of two metres at speeds over 30mph.
- Always leave a distance of at least two metres if driving a large vehicle.
- Pass horses and horse-drawn vehicles at speeds under 15mph and at a minimum distance of two meters.
- Allow two metres of distance when passing a pedestrian who is walking in the road.
- Wait behind the motorcyclist, cyclist, horse rider, horse drawn vehicle or pedestrian and not overtake if it is unsafe or not possible to meet these clearances.
It must be good news for road safety, but the impatience of lots of drivers is going to be a big problem especially when a motorist is exercising the correct speeds and distances detailed above, and the driver behind cannot see the cyclist/horse that is about to be overtook by the vehicle in front.
Finally…. Please, please, please, click the buttons below and share this post far and wide. Tell your friends, make sure they know these new rules and don’t fall foul of these new guidelines when they come into operation early 2022.