Highway Code changes

From today (29 January 2022) the Highway Code has been changed to give greater recognition to pedestrians.

The revised code is based on the principle that those road users who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose others. Pedestrians, and in particular children, older adults, and disabled people, are recognised as the most vulnerable and therefore the highest priority in a hierarchy of road users.

Three revised rules will give greater protection to pedestrians at junctions and crossings.

  • When people are crossing or waiting to cross at a junction, other traffic should give way.
  • If people have started crossing and traffic wants to turn into the road, the people crossing have priority and the traffic should give way.
  • People driving, riding a motorcycle or cycling must give way to people on a zebra crossing.

There is also guidance about use of space shared with cyclists. People cycling are asked, when passing people walking, to:

  • not pass closely or at high speed, particularly from behind,
  • slow down when necessary and let people walking know they are there (for example, by ringing their bell),
  • remember that people walking may be deaf, blind or partially sighted.

The UK charity for everyday walking, Living Streets, has been particularly active in pushing for pedestrians to be given first priority in the latest Highway Code changes.

Though not all the rules are legal requirements, they can be used in evidence in court proceedings to establish liability.

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