Changes to the Highway Code in January 2022

In order to ensure we all stay safe on the roads, The Highway Code often needs to change so as to better protect those deemed most vulnerable, such as pedestrians, horse-riders, and cyclists. With this in mind, some major new changes came into effect from 29 th January, 2022.
08/03/2022 News
Changes to the highway code 2022

Opening your door

One of the changes involves how we open our doors. When exiting a vehicle, drivers and passengers alike will need to open their door with the hand furthest from it, meaning a driver will typically reach with their left hand. This is known as ‘the Dutch Reach’.

Using the hand furthest from the door means your body will turn towards the door and increases your view of the pavement or road, meaning you’re more likely to spot pedestrians or traffic, with cyclists being particularly vulnerable. In fact, an estimated 500 cyclists are injured every year by drivers or passengers blindly opening their vehicle door.

Failure to use the Dutch Reach method when exiting a vehicle could result in a £1000 fine!

The cyclist’s position

Although The Highway Code had not previously noted where cyclists should position themselves on the road, most drivers would expect them to ride close to the pavement. Indeed, many of us would have been taught to cycle this way when we were young. However, a new ruling emphasises that cyclists should ride in the centre of the lane, a primary position that increases their visibility and contributes to their safety on our roads.

Turning left at a junction

Another change to the highway code is that vehicles will no longer have priority when turning left at a junction. Instead, they must give way to pedestrians intending to cross, reducing the chances of injury.

While some may argue it is the pedestrian’s responsibility to ensure their own safety - and it is, of course - the government’s position is that those who can do the greatest harm must take the greatest responsibility for ensuring safety, hence the onus on drivers. The new rule does not mean pedestrians now have permission to act irresponsibly or take greater risks on the road!

Response to such changes

According to the government’s own consultation, a significant majority are in favour of such changes to The Highway Code, especially as more and more people are embracing alternative modes of transport these days such as walking and cycling. Of course, it is everybody’s responsibility to use our roads safely and with consideration for others, so with that in mind we wish you all safe travels!

To find out more read the governments article related to the new highway code changes in 2022.