Following a public consultation conducted by the UK Government, The Highway Code has been enhanced and significant changes have been made. All of which are believed to improve safety for pedestrians, particularly children, older adults, disabled people, cyclists, and horse riders.
The UK government commented “Keeping our roads safe for everyone, and in particularly vulnerable road users, is the main priority for the government. Everyone has an equal right to use the road, and they should do so in a safe, considerate, and responsible manner. It is therefore important that The Highway Code keeps pace with change and reflects the safety needs of the most vulnerable road user groups.”
Edmund King, AA president, notes “The update is much needed with more “active travel” being encouraged and a boom in deliveries by people on bicycles. The upcoming changes to the Highway Code are a reminder that all road users have a responsibility to look after one another, in particular, the most vulnerable ones: pedestrian, cyclists, other two-wheeled transport and horse riders.”
The New Rules
From Saturday 29th January 2022, drivers will need to abide by the following changes designed to make more people feel safe on the road. The following changes now apply:
Hierarchy Of Road Users
Within The Highway Code, the UK government has now included a new ‘hierarchy of road users’. This states that in the event of a collision, there are different levels of responsibility. Those in charge of vehicles that can cause the greatest harm such as HGV and LGV have the highest level. This is broken down by cyclers, motorists, and pedestrians. However, this doesn’t deter from the responsibility of all road users.
Pedestrians Have Priority At Junctions
When a pedestrian is either crossing or waiting to cross a road, they now have priority. Therefore, all drivers, motorcyclists, horse riders and cyclists must slow and stop to allow them to cross the junction. The penalty for this will automatically lie with those ‘who can do the greatest harm’ unless proven otherwise.
All Traffic Must Stop For Pedestrians Waiting At Crossings
Formerly, cyclists, drivers and horse riders only had to stop at zebra and parallel crossings if someone was already walking across. It was however, advised to slow down on the approach to a zebra crossing, in anticipation of a pedestrian then crossing. Nevertheless, this has now changed to all traffic must stop at zebra crossings if people are waiting to cross, not just if they are already crossing.
Cyclists Can Ride Where They Feel Most Visible
Up to now, cyclists have been required to ride on the left and ensure bike lights are used at night. However, the new changes state, cyclists are required to ride no less than half a metre from the verge or kerb, ‘further where it is safer’. To pass a cyclists, drivers must give at least 1.5 metres space up to 30mph; more distance is required for higher speeds. Although, cyclists are expected to pull to the left on quieter roads, in slower-moving traffic and at busy junctions, to maximise safer overtaking opportunities.
Priority For Cyclists When Turning
Formerly, there was no clear guidance or requirement for drivers to treat cyclists as though they were other vehicles. However, now this has been put into place. Drivers should not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles going ahead when you are turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane. This applies across various paths such as a cycle lane, a cycle track, or riding ahead on the road, you should always give way to them. Put simply, do not turn at a junction if to do so would cause the cyclist, horse rider or horse drawn vehicle to stop or swerve. You should stop and wait for a safe gap in the flow of cyclists if necessary. This includes when cyclists are:
- approaching, passing, or moving off from a junction
- moving past or waiting alongside stationary or slow-moving traffic
- travelling around a roundabout
Hand-Held Mobiles Are Banned
Except in an emergency, the use of any handheld device for anything is banned. This includes taking videos or photos, scrolling through playlists, or playing games even if your vehicle is stationary. They can be used for hands-free calls, payments at drive-through or tolls, and as a satnav. But they have to be securely fixed to your vehicle. If caught touching your mobile during your journey, motorists face a £200 fine and six penalty points. For newly qualified drivers, six points and your licence revoked. Mac’s Trucks can customise your new or used vehicle to aid with this rule.
More Punishable Driving Decisions
Regulations such as yellow hatched lines, creating a box junction, ‘must not be entered’ unless the exit is clear. Additionally, driving the wrong way up a street and not giving way to oncoming traffic. All will now be more punishable and local authorities have been given more power. They now have the power to fine drivers up to £70 for minor traffic offences.
As HGV truck drivers have the greatest responsibility, in the new ‘hierarchy of road users’. It is, therefore, critical that all of your team are aware of the updates and have the correct vehicles in place. At Mac’s Trucks we have over 40 years of experience and expertise, offering our customers the best new and used vehicles around.
We offer our customers complete control when it comes to creating their ideal vehicle. This includes customisation to help your feet abide by the highway code. For instance, the ability to install communication systems to ensure your driver is protected from the banned hand-held device rule. As a one-stop shop for customers, we take the hassle out of design and manufacturing while assisting in any aftersales care thereafter.
Additionally, Mac’s Trucks have been recognised as an accredited vehicle dealer under the new Clean Air Zone scheme in Greater Manchester. We provide Euro 6 compliant vehicles that meet emission standards. Meaning your business can save money when travelling through a clean air zone, abide by the new laws and help reduce harmful air pollution.
We supply high-quality new and used niche products such as tippers, crane, and plant, curtainsiders, box vans, beavertails, cheesewedge, skips, and hooks. No matter what size or requirements you have we do everything with you in mind. When it comes to buying trucks, Mac’s Trucks is a name you can trust. Contact us today.