Are you aware of the new changes to the highway code?

The new changes to the Highway Code came into effect on Saturday 29th January 2022 and is designed to afford more protection to vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in more people opting to walk or cycle to their destinations, so it is vital that people feel safer when using the road.
There have been a number of significant changes to the Highway Code which has sparked many discussions, but some of the major changes are:

1. ‘Hierarchy of road users’
Rule H1 of the Highway Code stipulates that road users who could potentially cause the most serious injuries in an accident, have a greater responsibility to keep vulnerable road users safe.

2. Priority of pedestrians
Under Rule H2 of the Highway Code, pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road at a junction now have priority over cars so drivers should stop and wait for pedestrians to cross before turning into a junction.

3. Positioning of cyclists
Rule 72 of the Highway Code places an expectation on cyclists to cycle in the centre of their lane on quiet roads, in slow-moving traffic and when approaching a junction.

Some people think that the recent updates to the Highway Code is a positive change as not only does it aim to reduce the number of accidents on the road, it also has health and environmental benefits. This is based on the idea that if people feel that their safety has been considered to be of paramount importance, they are more likely to opt for “greener” ways of travelling, ultimately helping the UK to reduce its carbon emissions by 2050.
However, as it stands, this update is a huge change and many road users are unaware of its impact. It has been argued that it may be difficult to achieve effective communication of these changes as many people have become accustomed to the rules stated in the former edition of the Highway Code.

Many people uphold the view that unless the changes are highly publicised, the updates may have dire consequences for road users if they are not aware of their responsibility to keep others safe on the road.

In terms of protecting the safety of vulnerable road users, the recent changes to the Highway Code is a step in the right direction. What needs to happen now is for every road user to put the new rules into practice when travelling around in order to really improve the safety on our roads.

It is inevitable that these recent changes to the Highway Code will have big implications for road traffic claims. Here at BTMK Solicitors we have extensive experience in dealing with road traffic accidents. If you have been injured in an accident through no fault of your own or if you have any further questions about the content of this article, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence team on 01702 339222.

Written by Nadine Adeyemi, Paralegal in the Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence Team

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