Changes to the Highway Code

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Shared Spaces. Photo Credit @DFT

An photograph of a shared space road sign between people walking and cycles

In January 2022 new rules were added to the Highway Code to give greater protection to the most vulnerable people on our Streets.

Here are the 8 changes that you need to know about.

1. Hierarchy of road users

The introduction section of The Highway Code has been updated to include 3 new rules about the new ‘hierarchy of road users’.

The hierarchy places those road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy. For example; A person walking may be more at risk than a person in a Heavy Good Vehicle.

It does not remove the need for everyone to behave responsibly and states that it’s important that all road users:

  • are aware of The Highway Code
  • are considerate to other road users
  • understand their responsibility for the safety of others

2. People crossing the road at junctions

The updated code clarifies that:

  • when people are crossing or waiting to cross at a junction, other traffic should give way
  • if people have started crossing and traffic wants to turn into the road, the people crossing have priority and the traffic should give way
  • people driving, riding a motorcycle or cycling must give way to people on a zebra crossing and people walking and cycling on a parallel crossing
3. Walking, cycling or riding in shared spaces

There is new guidance in the code about routes and spaces which are shared by people walking, cycling and riding horses.

People cycling, riding a horse or driving a horse-drawn vehicle should respect the safety of people walking in these spaces, but people walking should also take care not to obstruct or endanger them.

People cycling are asked to:

  • not pass people walking, riding a horse or driving a horse-drawn vehicle closely or at high speed, particularly from behind
  • slow down when necessary and let people walking know they are there (for example, by ringing their bell)
  • remember that people walking may be deaf, blind or partially sighted
  • not pass a horse on the horse’s left

Find out what the rest of them are on the Department for Transport's Website.

Watch a short animated film by Brake about changes to the Highway Code

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