Motoring Law Update – Highway code changes 29 January 2022

News Posted: January 28, 2022

The Highway Code: changes you need to know from 29 January 2022

Hierarchy of road users

A new “hierarchy of road users” will be introduced, meaning “those who can do the greatest harm to others will have a higher level of responsibility to reduce the danger. Pedestrians are the most vulnerable, followed by cyclists, horse riders, motorcyclists, cars and taxis, vans and minibuses and finally HGV’s and large passenger vehicles

Drivers no longer have priority at junctions

The rules regarding pedestrians crossing the road at junctions have been clarified. Traffic should give way to pedestrians, as well as cyclists, horse-riders or scooter riders who are crossing or waiting to cross at a junction

All traffic must stop for pedestrians waiting at crossings

All cars, motorcycles, horse-riders and bicycles are now legally required to give way to people on a zebra crossing, not just if they are already crossing, but if they are waiting to cross. This also applies to parallel crossings (similar to a zebra crossing but with a cycle route alongside the zebra crossing).

Safe passing distances when overtaking whilst driving or cycling

Guidance has been updated regarding safe passing distances and speeds for car drivers or motorcyclists when overtaking more vulnerable road users. This includes:

  • leaving at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) when overtaking people cycling at speeds of up to 30mph, and 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)

Cyclists have priority at junctions

When cyclists are going straight ahead at a junction, they have priority over traffic waiting to turn in or out of a side road. This is to avoid drivers cutting across cyclists’ right of way

People cycling, riding a horse and driving horse-drawn vehicles on roundabouts

Drivers or motorcyclists should give priority to people cycling on roundabouts; they should

  • not attempt to overtake people cycling within that person’s lane
  • allow people cycling to move across their path as they travel around the roundabout

In addition, they should also take extra care when entering a roundabout to ensure they do not cut across cyclists, horse riders or those driving a horse-drawn vehicle who are continuing around the roundabout in the left-hand lane, as these people are permitted to stay in the left-hand lane of a roundabout when they intend to continue across or around the roundabout.

Guidance regarding exiting vehicles

A new technique when leaving vehicles is recommended, called the ‘Dutch Reach’.
When leaving a vehicle, it is suggested to open the door using the 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 cyclists or motorcyclists passing on the road or pedestrians on the pavement

Electric vehicle charge point advice

When using electric vehicle charging points, people should park close to the charge point and avoid creating a trip hazard from trailing cables and display a warning sign if possible

Walking, cycling or riding in shared spaces

People cycling, riding a horse or driving a horse-drawn vehicle should respect the safety of people walking in shared spaces, but people walking should also take care not to obstruct or endanger them.

Cyclists’ position in the road

Cyclists are required to keep at least half a metre away from the edge of the kerb when on busy roads. On quieter roads cyclists should ride towards the centre of the lane. This also applies when they are in slower moving traffic and when approaching junctions.

Cyclists passing parked vehicles

Cyclists 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. They should also watch out for people walking into their path.

How can we help?

It is a driver’s responsibility to keep up to date with Highway code changes. If you need advice on any motoring law issues, please contact our Motoring team on 01743 248545 or email


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