There seems to be quite a panic over new rules announced for the Highway Code 2022; but much of this is due to misinformation. The claims made by some newspapers are quite simply wrong. What isn’t a surprise however is the names of the papers which are making these claims!
The Daily Mail claims “Cyclists will be encouraged to ride in the middle of the road in some circumstances and, even if there is a cycle lane, they will not be obliged to use it.”
Whilst it’s true that the new Highway Code does suggest riding in the ‘centre of your lane‘; it also states that cyclists should move into the left when safe to do so to let faster vehicles overtake. Riders have never actually been obliged to use cycle lanes.
The Sun suggests that driver’s will now face a £1000 fine for hitting a cyclist when opening the car door. This is nothing new. Anyone who causes danger to another road user is liable to risk a fine. The latest version of the Highway Code doesn’t change that; all it recommends you to do is to look round properly. It states that using your left hand to open the driver’s door will cause you to turn in your seat and this will make you more aware of what may be in your blind spot.
The viewpoint from The Mirror ls “Cars indicating to turn left or right will also have to give way to cyclists coming from behind and going straight on, under the new rules.”
This is not correct. Drivers already have to give way to oncoming cyclists (and riders & drivers) who are coming straight on. Cutting across oncoming traffic has always been against the rules.
There is also no requirement for drivers to give way to cyclists ‘coming from behind’ before turning. What the 2022 Highway Code does in fact say is that drivers should not ‘cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles,’ when turning or changing direction. Once again this is nothing new. It has always been the rule of common sense and safety to avoid cutting across the path of others on the road.
All the new version of the code does is to spell things out a little more clearly in an attempt to emphasis the rules which are already there (except of course for those who have clearly misunderstood.)
The only significant change in the new set of rules, is that drivers who are turning into a new road should give way to pedestrians who are waiting to cross it. Previously it was a case of drivers giving way to those who were already stepping off the kerb or already in the process of crossing.
The new Highway Code is set to be published on January 29th; but we already have a copy of it for you to read yourself. Click here to buy it from Amazon.