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The Highway Code is Changing

This Saturday (29th January 2022), the Department for Transport is enforcing a new ‘hierarchy of road users.’ The new hierarchy of road users is based on how likely that user is to cause harm.

The new text in the Highway Code states:


Hierarchy of Road Users The ‘Hierarchy of Road Users’ is a concept that places those road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy. The hierarchy does not remove the need for everyone to behave responsibly. The road users most likely to be injured in the event of a collision are pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists, with children, older adults and disabled people being more at risk. More detail can be found here.


Gov UK website states, however, “The hierarchy places those road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy. It does not remove the need for everyone to behave responsibly.


Figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT) show 4,290 pedestrians and 4,700 cyclists were killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads from the start of 2020 to June 2021.

The ‘Hierarchy of Road Users’ is a concept that places those road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy. The hierarchy does not remove the need for everyone to behave responsibly. The road users most likely to be injured in the event of a collision are pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists, with children, older adults and disabled people being more at risk.

Some changes as a pedestrian

  • Pedestrians now get priority at crossings or when waiting to cross at a junction, meaning drivers will have to wait for them to cross.

  • Cyclists will also be told not to pass people walking closely or at high speed.

Some changes as a cyclist

  • Drivers/vehicles will be expected to leave a distance of at least 1.5 metres when overtaking a cyclist at a speed of 30mph. Rule 186 now says: “Give them plenty of room and do not attempt to overtake them within their lane. Allow them to move across your path as they travel around the roundabout.”

  • Cyclists can ride in the centre of their lane on quiet roads, in slow-moving traffic and to approach junctions or when the road narrows.

However, Gov UK’s website states, “People cycling are asked to be aware of people driving behind them and allow them to overtake (for example, by moving into single file or stopping) when it’s safe to do so.”


Guidance on Electric Vehicle Charge Points

For the first time in the Highway Code, there is guidance on using an electric vehicle charger. The guidance includes that when using a charger people should:

  • Park close to the charge point and avoid creating a trip hazard for people walking from trailing cables

  • Display a warning sign if you can

  • Return charging cables and connectors neatly to minimise the danger to other people and avoid creating an obstacle for other road users

For the first time in the Highway Code, there is guidance on using an electric vehicle charger. The guidance includes that when using a charger people should: Park close to the charge point and avoid creating a trip hazard for people walking from trailing cables Display a warning sign if you can Return charging cables and connectors neatly to minimise the danger to other people and avoid creating an obstacle for other road users

Naturally, as electric vehicle sales continue to grow in the UK, we suspect there will be more changes to how drivers should use an electric vehicle charger.


First introduced in 1931, the Highway Code has helped guide the UK’s drivers towards safer journeys for over 90 years. When it was first published, there were only 2.3 million vehicles on the road, but over 7,000 motoring deaths. It contained 21 pages of advice, including the arm signals given by drivers and police officers controlling traffic. The second edition, considerably expanded, appeared in 1934 and showed illustrated road signs for the first time. Further significant revisions followed, including motorway driving guidance in the fifth edition. The sixth edition, in 1968, used photographs and drawings for the first time. In 2012 a Highway Code app was introduced. The new 2022 revision follows consultations between July and October 2020 with a particular view to improving safety for cyclists, horse riders, and pedestrians.