In January 2022, the government introduced some updates to the Highway Code.
In this post we’ll discuss the new rules, and explore how they might affect you as a driver.
2022 Highway Code: Priority For Cyclists
The new Highway Code introduces a hierarchy of road users based on their relative risk levels. In this hierarchy, cyclists have priority over drivers. Many of the new regulations encourage drivers to take greater care when sharing the road with cyclists.
Drivers must now:
- Leave at least 1.5 metres’ room when passing cyclists.
- Allow cyclists priority at roundabouts.
- Refrain from cutting across cyclists or horse riders going straight ahead when changing lanes, changing direction, or turning out of junctions.
- Use the “Dutch Reach” technique when opening doors. This involves using the hand on the opposite side of the door – so you’d use your left hand to open a door on your right, and vice versa. The idea is that doing this will encourage you to look over your shoulder, so you’ll see if any cyclists are coming your way.
Highway Code Priority for Pedestrians and Horse Riders
Drivers must also take extra care with other vulnerable road users, including horse riders and, of course, pedestrians. For example, drivers must now give way to pedestrians waiting to cross when turning into a road.
New Highway Code Rules for Cyclists
There are also new rules for cyclists. In the new hierarchy of vulnerability, pedestrians come below cyclists. So cyclists must now take extra care of pedestrians when using the road.
In slow moving traffic and on quiet roads or streets, cyclists must ride in the centre of the lane, only moving to the left if a faster vehicle comes up behind them. And even then, they must only move left if they can do so safely.
Other New Laws for 2022
The law has also recently changed when it comes to using mobiles while driving.
The government issued new laws in November 2021 specifying that it’s illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving “under virtually any circumstance”.
Under these new laws, it’s even illegal to use a hand-held phone while stopped at traffic lights, or while stuck in a traffic jam.
And these laws apply to every circumstance in which you might “use” your phone. It’s not just illegal to take or receive calls while driving. It’s also illegal to take photos or videos, to scroll through playlists, and to play games.
However, you can still use your phone to make contactless payments at car parks, drive-throughs, and on toll-roads – but only when your car’s stationary. Plus, this exception only applies when using your phone with card reading devices. So you cannot use your phone to make other kinds of online payments while driving.
Head here to read our full guide to the new laws surrounding mobile phones.
Ready To Drive Under the New 2022 Highway Code?
You can read a complete explanation of the 2022 changes to the Highway Code on the government’s website.
With these changes, the government is intending to make UK roads safer for all road users. And while we have some of the safest roads in the world, accidents still happen. Even if you’re a careful and considerate driver, there’s still every chance that you might get involved in a collision that wasn’t your fault.