There’s a new Highway ode in the UK for cyclists. Some of the changes are just updates or clarifications to already established rules, but there are some new rules to be made aware of.
The main changes relevant to cyclists are as follows:
At the base of the new Highway Code is the road user hierarchy, which states who gets safety priority based on the risk of collision.
The heavier and faster your mode of transport, the more vigilant you should be. Trucks and buses need to be more vigilant than vans, vans more vigilant than cars, cars more than motorcycles, and motorcycles more than bicycles. Finally, pedestrians are the most at risk and are therefore at the very top of the safety hierarchy.
All road users need to remain vigilant, but the code has now been clarified as to who should defer to whom regarding road safety.
The new rules regarding junctions state that cyclists should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross the road you are turning into. For example, if you are turning to the right and there is a pedestrian waiting to cross that way, they have the right of way unless the road markings say otherwise.
For roundabouts, motorists should be yielding priority to cyclists. Cyclists should stay in the left-hand lane as they go through a roundabout. Motorists should take extra care when there is a cyclist in the roundabout.
Motorists should not turn at a junction if it causes a cyclist to have to stop or swerve. Priority should be to give the cyclist the safety and comfort to get through the junction. The motorists must wait until there is a gap in the traffic and no cyclists waiting before turning.