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Cyclist and Driver Highway Code Changes You Should Know About

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February 15, 2022 | 3 minutes read time

Since the success of our athletes in the London 2012 Olympics as well as the interest in healthier and cheaper transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic, cycling has been on the rise in the UK. More people are on 2 wheels and sharing the roads with drivers, which has led to highway code updates to benefit everyone.

Whether you’re new to driving or cycling, or it’s been a while since you last opened your highway code (your secret’s safe with us) here’s all you need to know about the recent changes.

What is the highway code?

The simple objective of the highway code is to promote road safety. It includes information, advice, guides and mandatory rules for all road users. On 29 January 2022, some rules changed. After a public consultation on a review of The Highway Code to improve safety, 8 new rules were introduced as well as 49 updates to existing ones. Over 20,000 people responded to the consultation, including members of the public and businesses. 

These highway code changes make it clear who has priority as transport evolves, to make the roads safer for everyone.

Staying safe as a cyclist 

It may take some time for everyone to familiarise themselves with the new rules, so be patient, and as always, bike safety is a priority. Always wear a helmet and safety gear and be visible with reflective clothing and accessories. The Curve Bike light and GPS tracker is an all-in-one safety cycling device designed to give you confidence on the road. The built-in smart technology knows if you fall, and if you don’t get back on the saddle it’ll send your location to your chosen contact.

What do these changes mean for drivers?

If you’re a driver, the changes mean you will often bear the responsibility of reducing danger to others. But cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians must also understand their responsibility.

Hierarchy of road users

  • Drivers of vehicles that can cause the most significant harm in the event of a collision, bear the greatest responsibility to take care and reduce  danger to others.
  • This principle applies most strongly to drivers of HGVs, LGVs, cars/taxis and motorcycles.

Pedestrians crossing at junctions 

  • When pedestrians are crossing or waiting to cross at a junction, all traffic should now give way
  • Where pedestrians are already crossing and traffic wants to turn into the road, the pedestrians crossing have priority and traffic should give way
  • Drivers, motorcyclists, or cyclists must give way to pedestrians on a zebra crossing as well as both pedestrians and cyclists on a parallel crossing

Overtaking when driving

  • Leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30 mph
  • Give more space if overtaking at higher speeds. 
  • Overtake horse riders or horse-drawn vehicles at speeds of under 10 mph and allow at least 2 metres of space
  • Keep a low speed and leave at least 2 metres of space when overtaking people walking on the road

Getting out of your car safely

The ‘Dutch Reach’ technique is now recommended when getting out of your car. This means you should open the door using the hand on the opposite side to the door you are opening. This prompts you to check for any cyclists, motorcyclists, and people nearby. 

Electric Vehicles

  • Park close to the charge point. Avoid creating a trip hazard for people walking from trailing cables
  • Display a warning sign if you can. Return charging cables and connectors neatly
  • Avoid creating an obstacle for other road users

Safety tips for drivers when it comes to cyclists 

Drivers should always check for cyclists

  • When turning left or right
  • Before overtaking on the road
  • When entering or leaving a parking spot
  • When changing lanes
  • When using the ‘Dutch Reach’ technique while opening car doors

What do these changes mean for cyclists? 

When using shared spaces, cyclists should

  • Not overtake people walking, riding a horse or driving a horse-drawn vehicle closely or at high speed
  • Slow down when necessary
  • Let people walking know they are there (for example, by ringing their bell)
  • Remember that people walking may be deaf, blind, or partially sighted
  • Not overtake a horse on the left

When cycling on the road:

  • Cyclists should ride in the centre of their lane on quiet roads, in slower-moving traffic and when approaching junctions
  • Use highway code cycle lanes and cycle traffic lanes where available
  • Keep at least 0.5 metres from the kerb edge
  • Cyclists should give way to people walking who are crossing or waiting to cross
  • Cyclists have priority when crossing junctions
  • Cyclists who are crossing a junction have priority over traffic waiting to turn into or out of a side road
  • When riding in groups, cyclists should be considerate of the needs of other road users
  • When riding in groups, cyclists can ride 2-abreast
  • Cyclists should allow drivers to overtake them
  • Cyclists should leave enough room to avoid being hit if a car door is opened

To read the changes in more detail, the online version of the updated Highway Code can be found here. Hard copies will be available to buy in stores from April 2022. 

 

 

Curve Bike light and GPS Tracker app controlled features and accuracy of location subject to Vodafone network coverage and GPS signal. Not all movements or impacts may be detected and the device is not connected to the brake on the bike and instead detects deceleration, so may not detect all braking occurrences Connectivity subscription required and Terms apply. See FAQs for more info. Never operate your phone when cycling and continue to use all additional safety measures you would normally take when operating a bike.

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