As you might already be aware, there have been some changes to the Highway Code, effective from January 29th 2022.
This includes updates to the hierarchy of road users, overtaking cyclists or horses, and even the ‘Dutch reach’ – a method of opening your vehicle door to enable you to see over your shoulder properly!
Read on to see the changes most relevant to HGV drivers…
Changes To The Highway Code In 2022 Our Drivers May Need To Know
The Hierarchy of Road Users
There are 3 new rules about the new ‘hierarchy of road users,’ which places those road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy.
It’s important that all road users:
- Are aware of The Highway Code
- Are considerate to other road users
- Understand their responsibility for the safety of others
Of course, it remains important to remember that the people you encounter may have impaired sight, hearing or mobility and that this may not be obvious.
The main change to the hierarchy of road users is regarding cyclists, with the new rules saying that:
“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, just as you would not turn across the path of another motor vehicle. 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. 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
People Crossing the Road at Junctions
The updated code clarifies that:
- When people are crossing or waiting to cross at a junction, other traffic should give way
- If people have started crossing and traffic wants to turn into the road, the people crossing have priority and the traffic should give way
- People driving, riding a motorcycle or cycling must give way to people on a zebra crossing and people walking and cycling on a parallel crossing
Positioning In the Road When Cycling
There is updated guidance for people cycling about positioning themselves too, which includes:
- Riding in the centre of their lane on quiet roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions or road narrowings
- Keeping at least 0.5 metres (just over 1.5 feet) away from the kerb edge (and further where it is safer) when riding on busy roads with vehicles moving faster than them
- People cycling in groups
The updated code explains that people cycling in groups:
- Should be considerate of the needs of other road users when riding in groups
- Can ride 2 abreast – and it can be safer to do so, particularly in larger groups or when accompanying children or less experienced riders
People cycling are asked to be aware of people driving behind them and allow them to overtake (for example, by moving into single file or stopping) when appropriate.
- People cycling passing parked vehicles
The updated code explains that people cycling should:
- Take care when passing parked vehicles, leaving enough room (a door’s width or 1 metre) to avoid being hit if a car door is opened
- Watch out for people walking into their path
Overtaking When Driving or Cycling
There are new rules on safe passing distances and speeds for people driving or riding a motorcycle when overtaking vulnerable road users.
- Leaving at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) when overtaking people cycling at speeds of up to 30mph, and giving them more space when overtaking at higher speeds
- Passing people riding horses or driving horse-drawn vehicles at speeds under 10 mph and allowing at least 2 metres (6.5 feet) of space
- Allowing at least 2 metres (6.5 feet) of space and keeping to a low speed when passing people walking in the road (for example, where there’s no pavement)
Wait behind them and do not overtake if it’s unsafe or not possible to meet these clearances.
People cycling passing slower-moving or stationary traffic
The updated code confirms that people cycling may pass slower-moving or stationary traffic on their right or left.
They should proceed with caution as people driving may not be able to see them. This is particularly important:
- On the approach to junctions
- When deciding whether it is safe to pass lorries or other large vehicles
The code recommends a new technique when leaving vehicles, which is sometimes called the ‘Dutch Reach.’
Where people driving, or passengers in a vehicle are able to do so, they should open the door using their hand on the opposite side to the door they are opening. For example, using their left hand to open a door on their right-hand side.
This will make them turn their head to look over their shoulder behind them. They’re then less likely to cause injury to:
- People cycling or riding a motorcycle passing on the road
- People on the pavement
This is by no means the full, updated Highway Code, which you can read on the UK Government’s website for free or buy a physical or digital copy. However, we hope this gives our fantastic drivers an overview of the changes that are coming into forces. At Barnes, we encourage safe trucking and are proud of our proactive team that get the job done in a reliable way.
HGV drivers, what are your thoughts on the new changes to the Highway Code? Voice your opinions via our Twitter or LinkedIn.