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For anyone preparing for their theory test or who has recently passed it, The Highway Code will be a familiar tome of guidance, advice, and regulations designed to keep road users safe.

From time to time, updates are made to The Highway Code, and in early 2022, a significant overhaul is planned, with a primary focus on establishing a hierarchy of road users.

While the new edition will include changes such as proper car door opening techniques, enhanced safety measures for cyclists, and tips for pedestrians, the DVSA is especially keen on ensuring that those who pose a greater risk to others bear a higher level of responsibility. This means that drivers of cars have more responsibility than cyclists, who, in turn, have more responsibility than pedestrians out for a leisurely stroll.

Although these changes won’t take effect until Parliament has given its approval (expected on January 29th, 2022), it’s important to note that even the non-mandatory updates could be used as evidence in a court of law. Therefore, it’s crucial to comprehend and follow the revised guidelines.

What are some of the new revisions?

A revised Hierarchy of Road Users:

Under the new regulations, drivers of vehicles that can cause the most harm in the event of a collision will bear the greatest responsibility for reducing the risk to others. This includes drivers of HGVs, LGVs, cars/taxis, and motorcycles. Similarly, cyclists and horse riders will also have a responsibility to minimize the risk to pedestrians.

New priority for pedestrians at junctions

At junctions, drivers, motorcyclists, horse riders, and cyclists will be required to yield to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into or from which they are turning. The revisions will also require drivers to give way to pedestrians waiting to cross a zebra crossing, and to pedestrians and cyclists waiting to cross a parallel crossing.

New priority for cyclists when cars are turning

You 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 whether they are using a cycle lane, a cycle track, or riding ahead on the road and you should give way to them. Do not turn at a junction if to do so would cause the cyclist, horse rider or horse drawn vehicle going straight ahead to stop or swerve. You should stop and wait for a safe gap in the flow of cyclists if necessary.

For a full list of the proposed changes, you can take a look at the ‘Table of changes to The Highway Code’ listed on the website.