The Highway Code is due to change at the end of this month, after parliamentary approval of several new rules designed to help with road safety.

The Highway code is set to be updated this year following Government approval of several new rules and rule changes.

The changes include:

The new Highway code will come into effect on the 29th of January. A total of 8 new rules will be added along with updates to 49 rules already in place.

The biggest change for road users will be the ‘Hierarchy of Road Users’. This will prioritise vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians.

What new rules are being introduced to the Highway Code?

Rule H1

The Hierarchy of Road Users rule will put more responsibility on the drivers of larger motor vehicles to look after more vulnerable road users.

The rule change states that:

‘Those in charge of vehicles that can cause the greatest harm in the event of a collision bear the greatest responsibility to take care and reduce the danger they pose to others’.

Rule H1 also states that cyclists and horse riders have a responsibility to look after pedestrians. It also stresses that all road users have an obligation to ensure their own safety, as well as that of other road users.

Rule H2

Rule H2 applies to drivers, motorbike riders, horse riders and cyclists. The rule states: ‘At a junction, you should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from which you are turning.’

What this means is that if you are turning into a road and there’s a pedestrian waiting to cross, you should give way to them.

Rule H3

Rule H3 covers drivers and motorcyclists. The rule states 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.’

What other rules have been introduced?

Several new rules have been included to help clarify when pedestrians have priority on the road. Cyclists are advised to take care when overtaking pedestrians and horses by slowing down and using a bell to alert them.

Cyclists are also now encouraged to ride in the centre of their lane to make themselves more visible on quieter roads and in slow-moving traffic or going up to junctions when it would be unsafe for vehicles to overtake.

How is the highway code enforced?

The Highway Code is being updated to improve road safety for road users. However, there will be no changes to the law. The rules of the highway code are only advisory, meaning a person will not be prosecuted for not complying with them.

However, the rules of the Highway Code can be used in court to establish liability in the event of an accident under the Road Traffic Act.

To find out more go to the Gov UK Website