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Cyclists Now Have Even More Right of Way: New Highway Code

Thanks to gov.uk for the information provided on The Updated Highway Code for 2022.

8 new changes have been made to the Highway Code.

These changes mean that cyclists have more right of way on our roads, and came into place on Saturday 29 January 2022.

Hierarchy of road users

Road users should be aware of the Highway Code

Should be considerate to other road users

Understand their responsibility for the safety of others

People crossing the roads at junctions

When people are crossing or waiting to cross at a junction, traffic on the road 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, cars can no longer expect path users to stop and wait.

If people are walking and cycling on a parallel crossing, drivers, cyclists and motorcycle riders must give way.

Walking, cycling or riding in shared spaces

People cycling are asked to not pass people walking, riding a horse, a horse-drawn vehicle at a high speed, particularly from behind.

Cyclists now have to slow down when necessary and let people walking know they are there by using the bell.

Cyclists need to consider that people walking could have hearing difficulties and vision impairments.

Should not pass a horse on the horse’s left.

Overtaking when driving or cycling

There is 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

passing people riding horses or driving horse-drawn vehicles at speeds under 10 mph and allowing at least 2 metres (6.5 feet) of space

allowing at least 2 metres (6.5 feet) of space and keeping to a low speed when passing people walking in the road (for example, where there’s no pavement)

– GOV

The updated code confirms that people cycling may pass slower-moving or stationary traffic on their right or left.

They should proceed with caution as people driving may not be able to see them. This is particularly important:

  • on the approach to junctions
  • when deciding whether it is safe to pass lorries or other large vehicles
The Updated Highway Code for 2022
The Updated Highway Code for 2022

Positioning in the road when cycling

The updated code explains that people cycling in groups:

  • should be considerate of the needs of other road users when riding in groups
  • can ride 2 abreast – and it can be safer to do so, particularly in larger groups or when accompanying children or less experienced riders

People cycling passing parked vehicles

The updated code explains that people cycling passing parked vehicles should:

  • take care when passing parked vehicles, leaving enough room (a door’s width or 1 metre) to avoid being hit if a car door is opened
  • watch out for people walking into their path

People cycling at junctions

The code has been updated to clarify that when turning unto or out of a side road, people cycling should give way to people walking or who are waiting to cross.

Some junctions now include small cycle traffic lights at eye-level height, which may allow cyclists to move separately from or before other traffic. People cycling are encouraged to use these facilities where they make their journey safer and easier.

– GOV

The code recommends that people cycling should proceed as if they were driving a vehicle where there are no separate cyclist facilities. This includes positioning themselves in the centre of their chosen lane, where they feel able to do this safely. This is to:

  • make them as visible as possible
  • avoid being overtaken where this would be dangerous

The code now includes advice for people cycling 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

People cycling have priority when going straight ahead at junctions

The code clarifies that when people cycling is 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.

People cycling are asked to watch out for people driving intending to turn across their path, as people driving ahead may not be able to see them.

People cycling, riding a horse and driving horse-drawn vehicles on roundabouts

The new guidance will say people driving and or riding a motorcycle should:

  • not attempt to overtake people cycling within that person’s lane
  • allow people cycling to move across their path as they travel around the roundabout

The code already explained that people cycling, riding a horse and driving a horse-drawn vehicle may stay in the left-hand lane of a roundabout when they intend to continue across or around the roundabout.

Guidance has been added to explain that people driving should take extra care when entering a roundabout to make sure they do not cut across people cycling, riding a horse or driving a horse-drawn vehicle who are continuing around the roundabout in the left-hand lane.

Parking and leaving vehicles

The updated highway code mentions a new technique such as the ‘Dutch Reach’. This is where drivers should open the door of their car to get out by using their right hand. This ensures that the driver looks behind them and around the car.

This technique is less likely to cause injury to:

  • people cycling or riding a motorcycle passing on the road
  • people on the pavement

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