Highways Code changes in place

Heavy vehicles have greatest responsibility in new road hierarchy brought about by changes to the Highways Code

Changes to the Highways Code came into effect on Saturday 29 January.

The amendments are intended to enhance safety for all road users. If approved by Parliament, a hierarchy of road-users will be introduced this weekend, designed to ensure quicker or heavier modes of travel have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others on the road.

Cyclists will also receive fresh guidance to ride in the centre of a lane on quieter roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions in order to make themselves as clearly visible as possible.

Meanwhile motorists will be encouraged to adopt the so-called ‘Dutch Reach’, opening the door next to them with the opposite hand so they look over their shoulder. This is intended to make them less likely to injure passing cyclists and pedestrians.

There will be updated guidance on safe passing distances and speeds for people driving or riding a motorcycle when overtaking vulnerable road users, including leaving at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) when overtaking people cycling at speeds of up to 30mph, and giving them more space when overtaking at higher speeds. It advises waiting behind them and not overtaking if it is unsafe or not possible to meet these clearances.

The new updates are advisory, so non-compliance will not result in a fine.

Roads Minister, Baroness Vere, said: “I’m proud to say we have some of the safest roads in the world, but I’m determined to make them safer still for everyone.

“These updates to The Highway Code will do just that by bringing the rules into the 21st century, encouraging people to respect and consider the needs of those around them, and ensuring all road-users know the rules of the road.”

  • More details about changes in the Highways Code can be found here.

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