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New Highway Code changes list HIERARCHY of road users putting cars & taxis fifth in pecking order


Image credit : Pixabay remixed

New Highway Code rules will list a clear hierarchy of road users which puts cars and taxis fifth in the pecking order.


Three main changes which are set to be enforced from Saturday 29 January, pending government approval, have been made to the Highway Code which all road users should become familiar with, with the first being the new clear hierarchy of road users.

Here’s a look at what the hierarchy of road users would look like:

  • Pedestrians

  • Cyclists

  • Horse riders

  • Motorcyclists

  • Cars/taxis

  • Vans/minibuses

  • Large passenger vehicles/heavy goods vehicles.

With pedestrians having absolute priority, as they are at most risk of serious injury, road users such as cyclists will also have a responsibility to reduce danger to pedestrians, although pedestrians are expected to consider the safety of all other road users also.


The Department for Transport says this system will pave the way for a "more mutually respectful and considerate culture of safe and effective road use".


The second significant rule is aimed at drivers, motorists, cyclists and horse riders.

The Highway Code now states clearly that, at a junction, you should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road that you’re turning into. Up until this rule change, vehicles had priority at a junction. Motorists and cyclists will now have to stop until the road they are moving across or entering is completely clear of pedestrians.


Drivers should also give way to pedestrians waiting to cross a zebra crossing, and pedestrians and cyclists waiting to cross a parallel crossing (a combined pedestrian and cycle crossing).


For cyclists, they are now expected to give way to pedestrians on shared-use cycle tracks, and are reminded that they are not allowed to use the pavement to bypass a pedestrian on a shared-use cycle track.


Pedestrians are allowed to use cycle tracks unless there’s a road sign nearby that says doing so is prohibited.


The third rule which motorists need to become familiar with focuses on the safety of cyclists. The updated Highway Code will now urge drivers and motorcyclists not to cut across cyclists when turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane.


This rule applies whether the cyclist ahead is 'using a cycle lane, a cycle track or simply riding on the road ahead'.


Drivers are meant to stop and wait for a safe gap when cyclists are:

  • Approaching, passing or moving away from a junction

  • Moving past or waiting alongside still or slow-moving traffic

  • Travelling on a roundabout.

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