Updated Highway Code

On 29 January 2022, a new edition of the Highway Code was published online. Most of the changes are clarifications to existing rules, such as the instruction for drivers turning to let people cross side roads, or minor updates to make the code match national training standards, such as the new parts on riding centrally in narrow lanes and riding two abreast.

One of the few new general rules introduces a hierarchy of users, saying that the road users who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility. As well as meaning drivers should take care of people cycling, this of course means everyone should look out for people walking or wheeling, as shown in this great illustration from Sustrans:

The updated rule on looking out when opening car doors advises using the opposite arm to open a door, making it more likely people turn to look out. Contrary to some newspaper reports, a £1000 fine for not doing so is unlikely, although theoretically possible: while the Highway Code is not itself law, disobeying it badly enough can be careless or dangerous driving, which are offences.

The rules on junctions and overtaking have also been clarified:

We've already seen the effect of these updates on our group rides. Of course, not every driver is following the new code yet, despite following Highway Code changes being a condition of one's driving licence — but well over 95% seem to be passing more widely now, which is great.

As well as the general rules, the rules for cyclists include many new rules that reflect what is taught in Bikeability training. It's a good idea to read the real thing at gov.uk/highway-code

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