Government to bring back campaign to remind drivers of 2022 Highway Code changes
Drivers are being reminded of their responsibility to more vulnerable road users as the government relaunches a campaign to reiterate changes made to the Highway Code.
Motorists now have a greater responsibility to reduce the danger they pose – compared to pedestrians and cyclists – under a major shift in the guidance which came into force last year.
This includes giving cyclists priority at junctions when travelling straight ahead and letting people waiting to cross or already crossing go ahead before them.
With the message ‘Travel Like You Know Them’ the government has taken the decision to bring back a campaign and associated adverts, it first launched last summer, in order to remind drivers of the new rules they must now follow.
Here’s a guide to exactly what those Highway Code changes are:
What changed in 2022?
A 'hierarchy of road users' was drawn up last year to improve road safety for the most vulnerable – and 18 months on the government is reminding road users of that responsibility.
The changes by the Department for Transport follow the rule that 'those who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility' - placing a greater onus on the behaviour of motorists.
The Highway Code, while not legally binding, acts as a set of guidelines and advice for all road users in the UK, with its biggest role being to promote road safety.
However while its rules are not official road laws many of the principles are reflected in current traffic laws and its information and guidance could be used in court to establish liability in the event of an accident or incident.
There were eight new rules among the changes alongside almost 50 updates that all came into effect last January.
Hierarchy of Road Users
The ‘Hierarchy of Road Users’ is perhaps the biggest sweeping change to the revamped Code - with cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders among those being defined as the most vulnerable and children, older adults or disabled people described as those more 'at risk' of serious injury.
Heavy goods vehicles, car drivers, taxis and motorcycles are now set out in black and white as posing the greatest danger on the road but in turn cyclists, horse riders and drivers of horse drawn vehicles now have a responsibility to reduce the danger they pose to those on foot.
The rankings, while not removing the overriding need for everyone to behave responsibly, do place a greater responsibility on drivers to give way, make space and pay greater attention to those they share the road with and who fall below them in the hierarchy list.
For example, drivers will have to give way to pedestrians when they are crossing, motorists will no longer have priority at junctions if there are people waiting to cross the road and when in traffic or on a slow moving road pedestrians and cyclists should be able to cross in front of cars, HGVs, vans and other vehicles.
The new Highway Code explains: "‘At a junction you should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from which you are turning."
There is also clearer guidance on how drivers should now be over taking cyclists - giving them at least 1.5m of space - and fresh advice on how both drivers and passengers should prevent 'car dooring' cyclists who may be riding alongside parked cars on busy roads.
Changes for cyclists
The changes to the Highway Code has also meant changes for cyclists to both protect them further from the dangers posed by vehicles but also to help prevent them causing unnecessary harm in turn to pedestrians.
Those on two wheels are now told to ride in the centre of a lane, rather than to the left, to make themselves 'clearly visible' when on quiet roads or streets, in slower moving traffic and at the approach to junctions or road narrowings where it would be unsafe for drivers to try and overtake.
And in terms of cyclists now taking greater responsibility for the dangers they pose to someone on two feet the new rules include asking riders not to approach from behind or pass anyone walking at speed, be considerate when sharing a space with pedestrians (particularly in relation to children, the elderly or disabled) and to slow down and then alert walkers they are nearby either by using a bell or by 'calling out politely' when close by.