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Six major changes to the highway code coming in from January 2022 explained


DRIVERS will have to abide by new guidance coming in next year that is designed to help more people stay safe on the road.

Updates to the Highway Code will apply from January 2022 – here’s what you need to know.

The High Way Code will get a major update next year

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The High Way Code will get a major update next year

The government confirmed today that the changes are due to come in to force from the new year.

Edmund King, AA president, said the update is much needed with more “active travel” being encouraged and a boom in deliveries by people on bicycles.

He said: “The upcoming changes to the Highway Code are a reminder that all road users have a responsibility to look after one another, in particular the most vulnerable ones: pedestrian, cyclists, other two-wheeled transport and horse riders.

“There are some significant changes being made, for example around rights of way when turning into or out of a side road.

“As most people do not read the Highway Code once they have passed their test, all drivers will need to ensure they read and understand the new rules before they become live in January.”

The updated Highway Code will apply from January 29, 2022.

You can read the full changes in the government’s new updated Highway code on the gov.uk’s page.

Here’s the main rule changes you need to know about.

“Heirarchy” of road users changes

There will be a “hierarchy of road users” in the new version of the Highway Code.

The pyramid will be based on the idea that those who can do the greatest harm – for example, lorry drivers – have the greatest responsibility to avoid hurting others.

Pedestrians, and especially children, the elderly and other vulnerable people, will be at the top.

They’ll be followed by cyclists, horse riders, motorcyclists and cars, with vans, HGVs and buses at the bottom.

Generally the bigger and heavier you are. the more responsibility you have to those smaller and more vulnerable than you.

It means that it will be clearer who’s at fault, though there are no new offences under the guidance.

The aim if the changes is to make rules clearer in writing – for instance where previously the rules said to give a safe distance for overtaking horse riders, it now states what that specific distance is.

Cyclists travelling straight ahead will be given priority at road junctions over drivers who are turning in or out or changing lanes

Cyclists will be told to give way to pedestrians on shared-use cycle tracks.

There is also guidance on safe passing distances and speeds.

The new Code makes it clear that 20mph speed limits must not be exceeded by drivers.

Electric vehicle drivers are advised to park close to charge points and avoid cables creating trip hazards.

The Highway Code already runs to more than 150 pages with over 300 rules.

Giving way on the road rules

The updated Highway Code makes clear exactly who gets right of way on the road.

The rule won’t come as a surprise but drivers should give way to cyclists in a cycle lane, including when they are approaching behind you.

You should be prepared to stop and wait for a safe gap to enter while cyclists are coming up before crossing into the cycle track.

Cyclists don’t have to use the cycle lanes – they can go on normal roads too – so be aware of driving safely while Brits commute on their bikes.

You should also give way to cyclists when they are looking to change direction or move into another lane and you should not cut across them.

Turning into a junction

Just like you wouldn’t cut across another vehicle when turning in or out of a junction, the new rules state drivers must not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles in the same manner.

This applies to if cyclists or those on or steering horses are using cycle lane – you should still give them right of way regardless.

Traffic should also give way to pedestrians waiting to cross the road at a junction too.

Slow traffic rules

When you’re stuck in traffic or you’re moving slowly, new rules state that you should allow pedestrians to cross in front of you.

That means those walking across the road should be allowed to do so by drivers.

This rule also applies to cyclists looking to cross the road too.

Driving on roundabouts

Cyclists also get priority when it comes to roundabouts.

The new rules state that you should give way to those travelling on bikes because they drive more slowly than those in cars.

You should give them plenty of room and not attempt to overtake them within their lane.

You should also give them room to move across your path as they go round the roundabout.

Flashing your lights

Previously, rules stated that you shouldn’t wave or use your horn to invite pedestrians to walk across a zebra crossing.

Now, honking your horn has been added to the list.

You should also not rev your engine as well as this could intimidate walkers.

Here’s all the rule changes to number plates happening that you need to know about.

Another major shake-up to towing heavy loads is rolling out too.

Here’s three changes that could lead to a £1,000 fine.

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