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Highway Code changes take effect

Changes to The Highway Code designed to enhance safety for all road-users – particularly those most at risk – are set to come into effect from 29 January 2022.

A hierarchy of road-users sets out that quicker or heavier modes of travel have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others on the road.

Cyclists also receive fresh guidance to ride in the centre of a lane on quieter roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions in order to make themselves as clearly visible as possible. They are reminded they can ride two abreast – as has always been the case and which can be safer in large groups or with children – but they must be aware of drivers behind them and allow them to overtake if it is safe to do so.

Meanwhile, motorists will be encouraged to adopt the so-called ‘Dutch Reach’ – opening the door next to them with the opposite hand so they look over their shoulder, meaning they’re less likely to injure passing cyclists and pedestrians.

In total, 9 sections of The Highway Code will be updated, with 50 rules being added or updated.

The government’s THINK! campaign will soon launch a communications drive, backed by over £500,000 in funding, raising awareness of the changes and ensuring road-users across the country understand their responsibilities. The campaign will run across radio and social media channels, with further campaign activity to follow later in the summer.

The new updates are advisory, so non-compliance will not result in a fine.

Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: “I’m proud to say we have some of the safest roads in the world, but I’m determined to make them safer still for everyone.

“These updates to The Highway Code will do just that by bringing the rules into the 21st century, encouraging people to respect and consider the needs of those around them, and ensuring all road-users know the rules of the road.”

The government initially announced the detail of the incoming updates to The Highway Code last summer. They follow a public consultation where nearly 21,000 people submitted their views, with the majority supporting every single one of the changes.

The changes seek to improve the safety of those most at risk on our roads. Everyone has an equal right to use the road and, likewise, everyone has a shared responsibility to behave in a safe and considerate manner.

The Department for Transport (DfT) engaged with key stakeholders while developing the changes, and a Highway Code Communications Working Group has been established with industry working alongside government to raise awareness.

The changes will be made to the digital version of The Highway Code first, followed by an update to the printed version which is due to be published in April 2022.

An explanation of eight of the most significant changes is available in the Guidance section of this Briefing.

Department for Transport/Active Travel England January 2022


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