The new highway code change that all UK drivers should know for 2022

Written by Jack Ramaswamy

Published on

Amid the various changes to road rules and laws which are due to be implemented this year, there is one which stands out. The government has changed the highway code in order to make cyclists and pedestrians feel safer.

The Highway Code change is part of a £338 million package to improve the infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians. After pending final parliamentary approval to introduce a risk-based hierarchy of road users, the change was finally implemented on the 29th of January. Someone driving will now have more responsibility to watch out for people cycling, walking or riding a horse, and cyclists will have more responsibility to be aware of pedestrians.

The main changes include:

  1. A hierarchy of road users that prioritises at-risk road users like cyclists and pedestrians.
  2. Improving pedestrian priority on pavements when crossing or waiting to cross the road.
  3. Guidance on passing cyclists safely. This includes safe passing distances and speed. Cyclists will also have priority at junctions when travelling straight ahead.

Although the change is now in effect, there is still significant controversy surrounding its introduction. Research conducted by AA revealed that 33% of drivers were unaware of the changes and with the new hierarchy now in force, charities and motoring groups say not enough has been done to make people aware which could lead to increased anger and resentment on the roads.

The change is, however, in the best interest of public safety and concerns of increased road rage will likely be alleviated with further awareness among the general public. Having those road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy will draw more attention to vulnerable groups and is just one of the ways the government is focussing on safety within the transport sphere this year.