Highway Code Changes – What you need to know

The Highway Code is changing from Saturday 29th January 2022. The changes taking place are following a public consultation undertaken by the government’s Department for Transport, in order to improve road safety for those who walk, cycle and ride horses. The highway code is essential for all road users, and users should understand their responsibility for the safety of others. For those of you who drive vehicles or ride motorcycles on the road, it is particularly important that you keep up to date on the changes as it affects your liability to others.  

Here are some key changes that you should be aware of:

Pedestrians crossing at junctions:

  • When pedestrians are crossing or waiting to cross at a junction, and traffic wants to turn into the road, the pedestrians have priority and the traffic should give way
  • Drivers, Motorcyclists, or cyclists must give way to pedestrians on a zebra crossing, and pedestrians and cyclists on a parallel crossing


Cyclists’ positioning in the road:

  • Cyclists should ride in the centre of their lane, for example when on quieter roads, slower traffic, when approaching junctions or on narrow sections of roads
  • Cyclists in groups can ride 2 abreast – it can be safer to do so, particularly in larger groups or when accompanying children or less experienced riders
  • Cyclists are to take care when passing parked vehicles, leaving a door’s width or 1 metre


Overtaking when Driving

  • Drivers may cross a double-white line if necessary (on a clear road) to overtake a cyclist or person riding a horse travelling at 10 mph or less
  • Drivers should leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph and at least 2 metres of space when passing people walking in the road (for example, where there’s no pavement) and people riding horses or driving horse-drawn vehicles at speeds under 10 mph


Cyclists have priority when going straight ahead at junctions, and on roundabouts

The change to the code will clarify 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.

It will also be clarified that when entering a roundabout, drivers should not cut across people cycling, riding a horse or driving a horse-drawn vehicle, who are continuing around in the left-hand lane.


The ‘Dutch Reach’

This is a new technique recommended to both drivers and passengers in a vehicle. The ‘Dutch Reach’ is basically opening the door using the hand on the opposite side to the door that they are opening. The purpose of this is to make you turn your head to look over your shoulder. This is to increase awareness of pedestrians, cyclists/motorcyclists passing.


Using Electric Charging Points

A completely new addition for the Highway Code is guidance for using electric charging points. The points to take away are as follows:

  • to park close to the charge point
  • be mindful when using and returning cables to avoid creating hazards and obstacles for others
  • display a warning sign if possible


In conclusion, many of the changes formalise courtesy to all road users and the updated Highway Code depicts the “hierarchy of road users”, making the point that heavier or quicker modes of transport should be particularly careful for those who are deemed more vulnerable.

If have any queries or wish to talk to someone advisor about finding the right policy for your Fleet or Commercial Vehicle, please get in touch with us here.

You can view the entire Highway Code at the UK government website here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code