The Highway Code and How it Has Changed for Cyclists
Posted on 20th September 2022 at 16:04
What is the Highway Code?
First introduced in 1931, the Highway Code includes the regulations, rules and guidelines all road users must follow to use the roads safely. Whilst not ‘the law’ it includes legal requirements. Failure to comply with advice or guidance can be used to establish liability in a civil claim for damages.
Hierarchy of Road Users
At the beginning of the year the Highway Code was amended to give greater safety to certain groups of people, such as walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The objective was to increase safely not just for these but for all road users. In essence the hierarchy of road users has changed. Now those at most risk in a collision have priority. Those who do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they may pose to other road users. As a result cyclists have priority over motorists under the new changes.
Changes for Cyclists
• Under the new changes a driver should not cut across a cyclist that is proceeding ahead when the car driver is turning into or out of a junction
• A gap of at least 1.5 m should be left when overtaking a cyclist at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour and an even bigger gap at higher speeds
• There is also a change in how you should open a car door in the path of a cyclist. Whether you are a driver or passenger you should use the hand which is furthest from the door to open it. This is designed to make you look over your shoulder and make it more likely that you would see a cyclist coming
• Cyclists should ride where they feel they are most visible making it more likely they will be seen. This can include the centre of the lane on quiet roads, at the approach to junctions and in slower moving traffic
• Cyclists may pass slower moving traffic on their left or right.
Courts will potentially take into account the hierarchy when looking at the circumstances of an accident and who is liable.
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