What are the new Highway Code rules 2021?

Some changes to the code came in effect on 14/09/2021 however new printed versions of The Highway Code won’t be available until next year.

Further planned changes of the Highway Code include a “hierarchy of road users”. This overturns the way the current regulations treat children walking to school and lorry drivers as if they are equally responsible for their own or other people’s safety.

The changes will ensure there is more balance and accountability for those who can do more harm.

“Road users who have potential to cause the greatest harm should take the greatest share of responsibility to reduce the danger they pose.”

So, a lorry driver will have a greater responsibility to those driving a car or motorcycle, and likewise people cycling would have a greater responsibility than pedestrians.

The hierarchy will be, in order of priority: pedestrians; cyclists; horse riders; motorcyclists; cars/taxis; vans/minibuses, with large passenger and heavy goods vehicles at the bottom.

Pedestrians will have priority on pavements and at zebra crossings. Cyclists will have priority at junctions when travelling straight ahead. And the new rules make it clear that at a junction, drivers should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or, out of which, the driver is turning.

And there is also guidance on safe passing distances and speeds. The new Code makes it clear that 20mph speed limits must not be exceeded by drivers. Also, Cyclists should give room when passing pedestrians on shared cycle paths.

The Code already runs to more than 150 pages with over 300 rules, one of which covers where drivers can and can’t stop, although it doesn’t go as far as preventing pavement parking – and this is something we are continuing to campaign for. The Government website has all published Updates.

WfW welcome many of these changes, especially the hierarchy of road users, and clarity around speed limits in low speed neighbourhoods, which will help cyclists to feel more comfortable and safer.

A smiling guy sits on a handcycle while road signs float around him.

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