From Saturday 29th January 2022, the UK Government has changed The Highway Code and important changes have been made. This followed a public consultation, with the aim of improving the safety of road users. Including, pedestrians, particularly children, older adults, and disabled people, cyclists, and horse riders.
The UK government remarked “Keeping our roads safe for everyone, and in particular vulnerable road users, is the main priority for the government. Everyone has an equal right to use the road, and they should do so in a safe, considerate, and responsible manner. It is therefore important that The Highway Code keeps pace with change and reflects the safety needs of the most vulnerable road user groups.”
Edmund King, AA president, stated “The update is much needed with more “active travel” being encouraged and a boom in deliveries by people on bicycles. The upcoming changes to the Highway Code are a reminder that all road users have a responsibility to look after one another, in particular the most vulnerable ones: pedestrian, cyclists, other two-wheeled transport and horse riders.”
The New Rules
From now all drivers will need to follow the updated Highway Code, designed to make you and others feel safe on the road. The following changes now apply:
Hierarchy Of Road Users
The ‘hierarchy of road users’ outlines the different levels of responsibility in the event of a collision. Vehicles that can cause the greatest harm such as HGV and LGV have the highest level. This is broken down by cyclers, motorists, and pedestrians. Nevertheless, this doesn’t deter from the responsibility of all road users.
Pedestrians Have Priority At Junctions
Pedestrians now have priority of motorists when they are waiting to cross or currently crossing at a junction. Consequently, all drivers, motorcyclists, horse riders, and cyclists must slow and stop to allow them to cross the junction. The penalty for this will automatically lie with those who are higher on the ‘hierarchy of road users’ therefore, having more responsibility.
All Traffic Must Stop For Pedestrians Waiting At Crossings
Before, cyclists, drivers, and horse riders only had to stop at zebra and parallel crossings if someone was already walking across. It was, however, advised to slow down on the approach to a zebra crossing, in anticipation of a pedestrian then crossing. This has been updated to all motorists must stop at zebra crossings if people are waiting to cross, not just if they are already crossing.
Cyclists Can Ride Where They Feel Most Visible
Thus far, cyclists have been required to ride on the left and ensure bike lights are used at night. Nevertheless, the new changes state, cyclists are required to ride no less than half a metre from the verge or curb, ‘further where it is safer’. To pass cyclists, drivers must give at least 1.5 metres of space up to 30mph; more distance is required for higher speeds. Yet, cyclists are still expected to pull to the left on quieter roads, in slower-moving traffic, and at busy junctions, to maximise safer overtaking opportunities.
Priority For Cyclists When Turning
Previously, there was no clear guidance or requirement for drivers to treat cyclists equal to other vehicles. This has now changed. Drivers 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 across various paths such as a cycle lane, a cycle track, or riding ahead on the road, you should always give way to them. Put simply, do not turn at a junction if to do so would cause the cyclist, horse rider, or horse-drawn vehicle to stop or swerve. You should stop and wait for a safe gap in the flow of cyclists if necessary. This includes when cyclists are:
- approaching, passing, or moving off from a junction
- moving past or waiting alongside stationary or slow-moving traffic
- travelling around a roundabout
Hand-Held Mobiles Are Banned
Except in an emergency, the use of any handheld device for anything is banned. This includes taking videos or photos, scrolling through playlists, or playing games even if your vehicle is stationary. They can be used for hands-free calls, payments at drive-through or tolls, and as a satnav. But they have to be securely fixed to your vehicle. If caught touching your mobile during your journey, motorists face a £200 fine and six penalty points. For newly qualified drivers, six points and your licence revoked.
More Punishable Driving Decisions
Regulations such as yellow hatched lines, creating a box junction, ‘must not be entered’ unless the exit is clear. Additionally, driving the wrong way up a street and not giving way to oncoming traffic. All will now be more punishable and local authorities have been given more power. They now have the power to fine drivers up to £70 for minor traffic offences.
Mac’s Truck Rental
HGV truck drivers are at the top of the new ‘hierarchy of road users’ responsibility list. Therefore, are seen as being able to cause the greatest harm. As the new rules are already in force, it is crucial your fleet are aware of the new changes and have the correct vehicles. Mac’s Truck Rental has over 50 years of experience, supplying our customers with a large range of HGV vehicles suitable for every industry. We provide short-term and long-term commercial truck hire to meet your business’s needs and requirements.
We offer our customers complete control when creating their perfect fleet. We work with companies of all sizes, from those who need a single lorry lease to those needing a fleet of vehicles. Whether you require a 3.5 tonne beavertail hire, 7.5 tonne lorry hire or 18 tonne we have the right solution for you. With bespoke customisable options, we can help you create a truly professional look with branding and customisation.
However, if you are looking to lease a truck, then we have vehicles that are ready to go. Whether you are searching for grab lorry hire, box trucks, skips, or tipper truck rental, we can quickly get you on the road. Our fleet includes beavertail hire, skip lorry hire, crane truck hire, and hook loader hire. Contact us today to get your fleet up and running.