Many of our clients should be aware of major changes in the highway code starting this month. The Department for Transport will be introducing eight new rules for British drivers to follow in planned updates to the Highway Code.
Under the new rules, vehicles are placed in a hierarchy depending on how much harm they can cause in a collision and drivers of vehicles higher up the hierarchy have a responsibility to ensure they don’t place more vulnerable road users in danger. There are also some changes around who has priority when turning into junctions and using crossings. Drivers are also not allowed to cut across cyclists when turning into junctions. The proposed changes, when approved, will come into effect in just a few weeks at the end of January.
‘Those in charge 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 they pose to others.
‘This principle applies most strongly to drivers of large goods and passenger vehicles, vans/minibuses, cars/taxis and motorcycles.” None of this detracts from the responsibility of ALL road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders, to have regard for their own and other road users’ safety.
This rule is for drivers, motorbike riders, horse riders and cyclists. It states: ‘At a junction you should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from which you are turning.’ Pedestrians have priority when on a zebra crossing, on a parallel crossing or at light controlled crossings when they have a green signal. Only pedestrians may use the pavement. Pedestrians include wheelchair and mobility scooter users.
For drivers and motorcyclists, it states that ‘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.’
You shouldn’t turn at a junction if doing so would cause a cyclist or horse rider to stop or swerve. Instead, you’re advised to wait for a safe gap before turning in.
Please see the official Highway Code for full details.