The Highway Code is being updated with effect from 29 January 2022. It may be some years since you last looked at the Highway Code and so now is a good time to read this publication again as there are some significant changes being made to the rules of the road.
The major innovation to the Highway Code is the introduction of a “Hierarchy of Road Users”. This is a concept that places those road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy.
The road users that are most likely to be injured in the event of a collision are pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and motor cyclists, with children, older adults and disabled people being more at risk. The following H Rules clarify this concept.
It is important that all road users are aware of the Highway Code, are considerate to other road users and understand their responsibility for the safety of others.
Everyone suffers when road collisions occur, whether they are physically injured or not. But those in charge of vehicles that can cause the greatest harm in the event of a collision bear the greatest responsibility to take care and reduce the danger they post to others. This principle applies most strongly to drivers of large goods and passenger vehicles, vans/minibuses, cars/taxis and motorcycles.
Cyclists, horse riders and drivers of horse drawn vehicles likewise have a responsibility to reduce danger to pedestrians.
None of this detracts from the responsibility of ALL road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders, to have regard for their own and other road user’s safety.
Always remember that people you encounter may have impaired sight, hearing or mobility and that this may not be obvious.
This gives pedestrians priority. Drivers, cyclists, motorcyclists, horse drawn vehicles and horse riders must now give way to pedestrians who are crossing or waiting to cross the road, at junctions into which or from which you are turning. Previously vehicles and cyclists were given priority at junctions, but the rules now mean that this is no longer the case.
This governs cyclist safety. Drivers may not cut across cyclists at junctions. From giving way at roundabouts to overtaking cyclists, a number of rules have been amended to improve cyclists safety as part of the hierarchy restructure. Across the UK, motorists are now advised not to cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles when turning in or out of junctions or changing lanes. In addition, drivers must give priority to cyclists on the roundabout.
As well as being safe on the road, it is important to understand that a failure on the part of a person to observe a provision of the Highway Code does not make that person liable to criminal proceedings of any kind, but any such failure may in any proceedings (whether civil or criminal) be relied upon by any party to the proceedings as tending to establish or negative any liability which is in question in those proceedings.
In other words, do not assume that, if you are involved in an accident from next week, you are the innocent (or negligent) party.
Now is definitely the time to brush up the rules of the road. The latest version of the Highway Code can be viewed at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/highway-code-changes-set-to-take-effect-this-weekend
If you have had an accident or have been a victim of medical negligence, contact Tracy Rodgers at firstname.lastname@example.org