2022 Highway Code Changes: 7 Million Drivers Unaware of New Rules for Vehicles,

The highway code was subject to several significant changes in early 2022, but a study by the IAM Roadsmart charity found that millions of drivers were unaware.

The charity surveyed 1,000 drivers, and 20 percent of them were unaware that highway code rules had changed. If the survey results represent a national picture, it could mean that up to 7 million drivers continue to make changes regardless, potentially putting themselves and others at risk.

Auto Express expressed concern before the changes took effect that communication of the changes seemed extremely inadequate. The IAM’s survey found that more than half of those surveyed disagreed with the question, “Do you think the government did a good job of notifying changes to the highway code?”

Neil Gregg, director of policy at IAM Roadsmart, said: “An alarming number of motorists are driving on the UK roads without awareness of the fundamental changes that fundamentally change the dynamics of shared use.” “This is a serious security risk that the updated code may actually see that there are more, not less, collisions on our roads.”

As of January 29, under a new classification of road users, pedestrians have new priority when crossing road junctions, while cyclists have priority when crossing a curved vehicle. When the changes were announced, Hozal Uddin, a motoring lawyer at JMW Solicitors, said the new rules could give some cyclists the confidence to take more risks on the road.

“My concern is that a situation will arise where car owners are now more likely to be judged than before,” he told us.

Uddin also shared concerns that the Department of Transportation (DFT) was “railing” the new rules without first informing the public.

Although the online version of the Highway Code was updated immediately, physical copies of the new rules were not to be released until the spring.

Although DfT has set up a working group to decide how the changes should be communicated to the public, a spokesman for Cycling UK – one of those groups – expressed concern to Auto Express that inadequate communication was a risk.

Duncan Dolimore, head of the Cycling UK campaign, told us: “Many people haven’t read the highway code for years, so it’s important to make important changes clear with simple, accurate and memorable messages.”

What is 2022 Highway Code Change?

Rule H1: New classification of road users
Vehicles that can cause the most damage during a collision have the greatest responsibility for caring for their drivers and minimizing danger to others. This policy applies most strongly to HGV, LGV, car / taxi and motorcycle drivers. Cyclists and riders also have a responsibility to reduce the risk of pedestrians.

Rule H2: New priority for pedestrians at the junction
At an intersection, drivers, motorcyclists, horse riders, and cyclists should wait for pedestrians to cross or cross the road whichever way you turn. Pedestrians waiting to cross a zebra crossing (currently you only have to give way if they are already at the crossing) and pedestrians and cyclists waiting to cross a parallel crossing should be given way.

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Rule H3: New priority for cyclists when driving
You should not cut cyclists, horse riders or horse-drawn vehicles when you are going to a junction or out or changing direction or lane. This applies whether they are using bike lanes, bike tracks or moving on the road and you should give them their way. Do not turn at any turn if it causes the cyclist, horse rider or horse-drawn carriage to go straight ahead or stop. You should stop and wait for a safe gap in the flow of cyclists if necessary.

Q&A: DfT on 2022 Highway Code Amendment

Towards the end of 2021 we talked with the Department of Transportation about changing the 2022 highway code …

AE: Can you confirm the effect of the statutory materials that the outline of the Highway Code has been changed – especially in relation to the new Right of Way rules for cyclists – to become law on January 29, 2022? (And can this be legally enforced?)

DFT: The proposed changes to the Highway Code will be implemented by the end of January 2022 The proposed changes to the Highway Code are advisory only and are not legally binding

AE: According to the new rules, what is the punishment for cyclists who fail to give way?

DFT: The new rule does not seek to change the law to give priority to cyclists but rather to ensure a more mutually respectful and considerate culture of safe and effective road use that benefits all users. You don’t cut a cyclist like you don’t cut another motorcyclist.

Although failure to comply with the Code’s ‘advisory rules’ will not, in itself, cause a person to be prosecuted, the Highway Code can be used as evidence in any court proceedings (under traffic law) to establish liability. This includes rules that use advisory terms such as ‘should / shouldn’t’ or ‘do / don’t do’.

Law enforcement is a matter for the police who will decide on the basis of the evidence in each individual case, whether a crime has been committed and take appropriate action.

AE: Does the new priority apply only to cyclists, or do they also apply to electric bicycles, e-scooters, mopeds, motorcycles, etc.?

DFT: The new rules apply to all road users. For example, motorists should give way to cyclists and cyclists should give way to pedestrians. It is illegal to drive a privately owned scooter on government land.

AE: How did the DFT respond to the allegation that the results of the consultation were in fact too biased in favor of the activist cycling lobby? (Cycling UK claims 75 per cent response through ‘successful campaign’.)

DFT: We are unable to comment on Cycling UK claims. However, our consultation analysis indicates that more than 60 percent of respondents identified themselves as motorists.

AE: What is the plan to communicate these extensive changes to the drivers, the implementation deadline is so short. For example, will TV or social media ads be promoted nationwide?

DFT: We agree that in order for the changes to have the desired effect, it will be important that they are supported by targeted awareness raising and behavioral change communication.

Our well-established thinking! The campaign will build a communications campaign to support the implementation of the changes, during and after the launch, to support increased active travel time over time.

Response to Highway Code Changes:

“About three-quarters of accidents involving cyclists occur at junctions and there are fourteen highway code rules that prevent riders from overtaking, cutting and pedestrians and cyclists from crossing side-road junctions.

“Multiple rules lead to confusion, where most European countries have a universal preference rule, where anyone turning into a junction has to prioritize going straight ahead.

“This simple change clarifies the rules at junctions, and is a big step towards custom embedding that could make a huge difference in the safety of cyclists and pedestrians. It gives them the confidence to make it easier, safer and more efficient for everyone. ” Duncan Dolimore, Head of Cycling UK Campaigns

“IAM RoadSmart is concerned that the new highway code will increase rather than reduce conflict on the road. Informing every road user in the UK about the new rules will be a huge task, especially when most drivers feel they are efficient and do not need to refresh their skills.

Proper communication will be important when some cyclists begin to exercise their new right to traffic and put themselves at risk.

Weak road users deserve maximum protection from motorized vehicles but changing books that no one reads is less likely to have the expected effect. In our view, investing in isolated facilities is the best way to encourage people to consider active travel as a viable option. ” Neil Gregg, Policy Director, IAM Rhodesmart.

“The changes to the highway code are a reminder that all road users have a responsibility to take care of each other, especially the most vulnerable people: pedestrians, cyclists, other two-wheelers and horse riders.

“Encouragement for more ‘active travel’ and increased delivery of people on bicycles has led to some changes in road use, and the highway code needs to be updated to reflect this.

“Since most people don’t read the highway code after passing their test, all drivers need to make sure they read and understand the new rules.” Edmund King, AA President.

Now look at the actual cost of low traffic …

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