Attention all members in driving roles – new Highway Code rules

Postal, Telecoms & Financial Services, Health & Safety

‘Hierarchy of Road Users’ principle will legally change road and pavement priorities, explains our national health, safety & environment officer Dave Joyce…

From 29th January – all drivers in the UK will have to abide by new rules giving stronger priority to pedestrians, particularly when at junctions, and to turning cyclists when at a junction, or changing direction, or changing lane, while cyclists will have to give priority to walkers.

The reforms create what is described as a ‘risk-based hierarchy’ of road and pavement users and is based on the principle that those that can do the greatest harm have the most responsibility to reduce the danger to others.

Speaking to CWU News this morning, Dave Joyce said: “Most of us don’t read the Highway Code once we’ve passed our test – so it’s extremely important that we all ensure that we’re aware of these changes particularly the very many of our members who drive for a living.

“And there are some significant changes being made. So please take a look at these key points listed below and, for further information, visit the links included with the attached LTB.

“Let’s stay safe on the roads and let’s keep fellow highway users safe too.”

  • There will be a new “hierarchy of road users” introduced for the first time in the new version of the Highway Code.
  • The “hierarchy” will be based on the idea that those who can do the greatest harm – e.g. lorry and truck drivers – will have the greatest responsibility for avoiding collisions, accidents and injuries etc.
  • Pedestrians, and especially children, the elderly and other vulnerable people, will be at the top of the hierarchy and take top priority.
  • They’ll be followed I order then by cyclists, horse riders, motorcyclists and cars, with vans, HGVs and buses at the bottom.
  • Generally the new rule is that bigger and heavier the vehicle is, the more responsibility the driver will have to ensure the safety of other road users and pedestrians.
  • The aim of the changes is to make rules clearer. For example, previously the code said that drivers should give a safe distance when overtaking horse riders, it now states what that specific distance must be.
  • Cyclists travelling straight ahead will be given priority at road junctions over drivers who are turning in or out or changing lanes etc.
  • Cyclists will need to give way to pedestrians on shared-use cycle tracks.
  • There is also guidance on safe passing distances and speeds.
  • The new Highway Code makes it clear that 20mph speed limits must not be exceeded by drivers.
  • Electric vehicle drivers are advised to park close to charge points and avoid cables creating trip hazards.
  • The Highway Code already runs to more than 150 pages with over 300 rules.