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Changes to the Highway Code 2022 - Explained

If you’re currently revising for your theory test or have recently passed it, you’ll hopefully know The Highway Code all too well. It’s a set of information, advice, guides, and mandatory rules set out for road users to help keep themselves, and others safe.

Every so often The Highway Code is updated, and in the early part of 2022, it’s set to undergo one of the biggest revisions in recent years, with a strong focus on establishing a hierarchy of road users.

As well as changes such as how to open your car door correctly, sweeping changes for cyclists, and safety tips for pedestrians, the DVSA are focussing on ensuring those who pose a greater risk to others have a higher level of responsibility. This means those driving a car have a higher level of responsibility than those riding a bike, and that cyclist in turn has a higher level of resp9onsbility than someone taking a leisurely stroll. 

The new rules haven’t come into effect yet, that won’t happen until Parliament has passed them, but it’s likely that they will come into effect on 29 January 2022, and, whilst many of the revisions or updates are more advisory measures that are not legal requirements, they could be drawn upon in a court of law so it’s important to understand and obey them!


What are some of the updates?


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.


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 have to give way if they’re already on the crossing), and to pedestrians and cyclists waiting to cross a parallel crossing.


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.


For a full list of the proposed changes, you can take a look at the ‘Table of changes to The Highway Code’ listed on the website.

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