UK Highway Code Changes Give Cyclists Priority Over Drivers

The revised code comes into force on 29 January, heralding a new hierarchy of responsibility based on how vulnerable a road-user is. This means cyclists will have to act to reduce the danger to pedestrians on the road, while cars will have to reduce the danger for pedestrians and cyclists.

It also means that pedestrians and cyclists will have right of way at junctions. Under the old code, pedestrians only had right of way at a junction if they were already on the road. Under the new rules, cars and bikes will have to give way if a pedestrian is waiting to cross a road they are turning into. Likewise, cars looking to turn left or right at a junction will have to wait and give way to cyclists behind them, who want to go straight on, and only turn once they have passed.

Drivers will also be told to open their door with their left hand to protect cyclists under new Highway Code rules. The technique is known as the ‘Dutch reach’. The new code, which is expected to come into force on 29 January, will tell drivers to open their vehicle “where able to do so” by “using your hand on the opposite side to the door you are opening”.

However, a survey of 13,000 AA members found that only a third knew the changes were being introduced, with a fifth believing such plans were outright “false”.

So, if you're reading this in the UK, it would be a good idea to help spread the word.



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