The New Highway Code Rules 2022

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The New Highway Code Rules 2022

January 28, 2022

As you may be aware, on the 29th January 2022 the Highway Code rules are being revised and updated and it will be mandatory for all road users to be aware of the rules and to follow them. There will be a total of 8 new rules, along with 50 new guidelines. Keep reading to find out more about the new Highway Code rules 2022.

The new rules

Hierarchy of Road Users

The hierarchy of road users in the new Highway Code rules has changed. Pedestrians are now at the top of the hierarchy list as they are the most vulnerable users of pavements and highways. It is a vehicle driver’s responsibility to ensure that they are not putting pedestrians at risk with their driving.

The new version of the Highway Code states that cyclists, horse riders, and motorcyclists are also part of the “vulnerable” group. It also suggests that “children, older adults and disabled people are more at risk”.

Why has this new rule been introduced?

This rule has been introduced because according to the Evening Standard, there have been figures released by the Department for Transport which shows 4,290 pedestrians and 4,700 cyclists were killed or seriously injured on UK roads dating from 2020 to June 2021.

These statistics show that the current Highway Code rules are not working to their best ability and new rules should be imposed to make British roads safer for more vulnerable groups.

Priority for Pedestrians

Previously with the Highway code, motorists were given priority at a junction, so they had the right of way to use a junction over pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross.

The new rules now give pedestrians the right of way at junctions, meaning that motorists have to give priority to pedestrians at a junction to allow them to safely cross the road. Cyclists now have to give priority to pedestrians crossing or walking in a cycle lane.

Why has this new rule been introduced?

The rule has been introduced to keep pedestrians safe, as they have been identified as the most vulnerable group on the highways.

Drivers give priority to cyclists, horse riders and horse drawn vehicles on roundabouts

The new Highway Code rule is to ensure drivers give cyclists, horse riders and horse drawn vehicles priority at roundabouts. So drivers need to ensure the road user can safely enter and leave the roundabout and to allow the cyclists to change lanes safely. Drivers are also encouraged to stop and keep a safe distance from cyclists on roundabouts.

 Basically, the new rule suggests that motorists need to be considerate towards cyclists, horse riders and horse drawn vehicles who are using roundabouts.

Why has this new rule been introduced?

The rule has been introduced to make roundabouts safer for cyclists and to reduce the number of accidents that cyclists are involved in on British roads.

Cyclists are now advised to cycle in the middle of the road

Previously, there wasn’t a rule on where exactly cyclists should position themselves on the highways. The new Highway code from the government, rules states that cyclists should now cycle in the middle of the road in order to become more visible on the roads.

Cyclists are encouraged to cycle 2 a-breast 

Cycles are encouraged to cycle 2-breast as it has been deemed safer, especially for those who are cycling with young people and children.

New overtaking rules

Drivers and cyclists need to take care when overtaking other road users, for example horse riders. The new rule according to states:

  • Cars leave at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) when overtaking people cycling at speeds of up to 30mph, and to give them more space if overtaking at higher speeds
  • Passing people riding horses or driving horse-drawn vehicles at speeds under 10 mph and to allow at least 2 metres (6.5 feet) of space
  • Allow at least 2 metres (6.5 feet) of space and keep to a low speed when passing people walking in the road (for example, where there’s no pavement)

Cyclists turning right

The new Highway code will include advice for cyclists using junctions where signs and markings tell them to turn right in 2 stages. These are:

  • Stage 1 – when the traffic lights turn green, go straight ahead to the location marked by a cycle symbol and turn arrow on the road, and then stop and wait
  • Stage 2 – when the traffic lights on the far side of the junction (now facing the people cycling) turn green, complete the manoeuvre

The new Highway code also clarifies that when cyclists are going straight ahead at a junction, they have priority over traffic waiting to turn into or out of a side road, unless road signs or markings indicate otherwise. Cyclists need to watch out for people driving intending to turn across their path, as people driving ahead may not be able to see them.


The new “Dutch Reach” rule

The new Highway Code implies that drivers who have parked their vehicles on a highway need to do the “Dutch Reach” when leaving vehicles. This is where a person leaves a vehicle by using their opposite hand on the side of their door to open the door. For example, use their left hand to open a right hand side door. This new move will make the person turn their head to look over their shoulder behind them. They’re then less likely to cause injury to:

  • Cyclists or people riding a motorcycle passing on the road
  • Pedestrians on a pavement


Rules for charging electric cars

For the first time, the Highway code will include guidance for using EV charging points.

When using one, people should:

  • Park close to the charge point to avoid creating a trip hazard for people walking from trailing cables
  • Display a warning sign on your vehicle if you can
  • Make sure they return charging cables and connectors neatly to minimise the danger to other people and avoid creating an obstacle for other road users

What happens if I don’t follow the new rules?

If drivers fail to adhere to the new rules once they have been imposed, they face fines and points on their driving license.

Find out about all the changes

Nine sections of The Highway Code will be updated, with 50 rules being added or updated.

You will be able to see a summary of all the changes in The Highway Code updates list on GOV.UK from 29 January 2022.

Final Thoughts

We hope you have enjoyed our article on the new Highway Code rules 2022, we cater our blogs to car enthusiasts and general car buyers. Stay tuned for more!

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