Highway Code changes 2022 | do you agree with these new rules?

New Highway Code rules come into on January 29 and they will mean sweeping changes for all road users


IT’S hard to forget that a sweeping new raft of updated Highway Code rules will come into force on January 29, 2022. The new rules will affect all road users and are set to change the landscape of road travel in the UK.

That is not to say that the new rules have been welcomed by all though, with motoring groups and safety organisations calling into question the logic and thinking behind them.

We’ve picked out some of the biggest Highway Code changes that come into force on the 29th, and we want to gauge your thinking on how they will be received.

Do you agree with these new Highway Code rule changes?

1. Hierarchy of road users

The new hierarchy of road users looks to set out a pecking order, with pedestrians at the top, and large vehicles, lorries, and buses, at the bottom. The general thinking behind the rule is that those driving or riding vehicles that can do more damage to other road users should be responsible and considerate to those who are more vulnerable.

2. Pedestrians crossing at junctions

One of the more seismic changes to the Highway Code (and also one of the most negatively received by drivers and riders) is the priority of pedestrians at junctions.

Previously, when a pedestrian is waiting to cross the road at a junction, the Highway Code would state that they would have to stop, look, listen and wait for a clear gap to cross.

From January 29th onwards, pedestrians will have priority at junctions, meaning that vehicles will be obliged to stop and wait at junctions for the pedestrian to cross – regardless of whether they are turning into or out of the junction.

Not only does rule change in this case completely change a pedestrian’s thinking process when it comes to crossing the road, there is also an acute danger involved, especially for motorcycles and scooters.

If you were turning left into a minor road and a pedestrian is waiting at the curb, you are now obliged to stop and wait. Leaving you, your bike, and pillion, possibly at an angle to the flow of traffic and less visible because of that.

While thinking of the safety of pedestrians at a junction is all good, should it really be to the detriment of another road user’s wellbeing?

3. Positioning in the road when cycling

Another Highway Code rule change that has drawn much criticism is around cyclists and how they position themselves on the road.

For a long time, bike safety courses like the Cycle Proficiency Test would advise cyclists to ride towards the left on the road, near but not in the curb. That way, a greater proportion of the road is left clear for cars and other vehicles to pass the bicycle safely.

At the end of this month though, bicycles will be advised to take up a more central position in roads where applicable, and while riding in groups ride two abreast.

There is guidance in the updated Highway Code that requires bicyclists to be ‘aware of people driving behind them and allow them to overtake’ though. Although that only works if that (like every other rule change) is adhered to.

4. Overtaking slower road users over a double white line

One rule change that many riders and drivers will welcome is that crossing a double white line to overtake is now allowed in very specific circumstances.

The change reads:

You may cross a double-white line if necessary (provided the road is clear) to overtake someone cycling or riding a horse if they are travelling at 10 mph or less (Rule 129).

5. Overtaking slower road users on a roundabout

One change states that cars, motorcycles and other vehicles must give priority to bicycles when they are riding on roundabouts. They cannot overtake, cut in front, and must allow bicycles to change their line and lane.

Interestingly, the Hierarchy of Road Users already seems to be forgotten, as the updated rules make no mention of cars, vans, buses, and lorries, giving way for motorcycles in the same manner.

As mentioned at the top, the new Highway Code rules do not come into force until January 29th 2022. On that day the full list of the updated and all-new guidance will be available for free on the website below.


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