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New Highway Code rules launch from January 29 and will see a new ‘hierarchy of road users’ policy introduced. The new rule means that delivery drivers in heavy goods vehicles and vans will have the greatest responsibility to minimise the danger on roads.

The new hierarchy of road users is as follows:

  1. Pedestrians
  2. Cyclists
  3. Horse riders
  4. Motorcyclists
  5. Cars/taxis
  6. Vans/minibuses
  7. Large passenger vehicles/heavy goods vehicles

Before the changes, The Highway Code had instructed all road users to be considerate towards each other and applied this principle equally to both pedestrians and drivers.

Another key change in the updated Highway Code, is pedestrian priorities at junctions. At present, road users are only advised to give way to pedestrians who have already started to cross the road in which they wish to turn.

The new rule, H2 of the revised code, means priority will now also be given to pedestrians who are waiting to cross the road.

Drivers may also be hit with a £200 fine and six points on their driving licence if they use their mobile phones while driving.

To prevent the injuries that occur because of vehicles turning across the paths of cyclists at junctions, the Highway Code now includes rule H3. This rule instructs drivers to not cut across the path of any other road user, including cyclists and horse riders, when turning in or out of a junction.

The guidance also includes where there is a cycle lane at the nearside.

Road users are still expected to stop and wait for a safe gap before beginning their manoeuvre, with drivers also tasked with not turning at junctions if it would cause someone continuing straight ahead to stop or swerve.

Rule 67 of the Highway Code has been revised to now encourage a distance of at least a door’s width or one metre when cycling or riding past a parked car.

Drivers are also being advised to adopt the “Dutch Reach” method when opening the door of a parked vehicle. The “Dutch Reach” method means opening your vehicle door using the hand on the opposite side to the door you are trying to open. For example, if you are in the right-hand seat, you would use your left hand to open the door. By doing this, it forces you to turn your body and your head, which should better enable you to check over your shoulder and in turn, your blind spot.

Click here to read the Highway Code in full.

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