Do you know how the British love to argue? The government even has it in for us by giving a new reason to discuss—2022 changes to the Highway Code. So get ready to start arguing! While, as before, some rules are only optional and might not affect the court’s judgement in your favour. Others are required by law, so it’s essential to follow them.
The total highway code in 2022
When you own a personal number plate for your car, it’s easy to spot in a crowd. So make sure you know the rules before you register one. Here’s a quick overview of the changes, with links to download the full Highway Code if you want more in-depth information.
The main thing to focus on is safety.
The primary aim of this revision is to increase road safety. Pedestrians are those most likely to be injured in a collision, so they’re the people we’re prioritising. Few people would argue with the intent of the revised Highway Code, but many have already expressed concern that it may make things worse and increase danger rather than reduce it.
Pedestrians should always be given priority at junctions.
Previously, cars had priority at intersections, and people on foot would have to give way to vehicles making a turn. But with the new system, motorcyclists will prioritise pedestrians: drivers and cyclists turning into an intersection need to give way to pedestrians already crossing the road. So the updated version now requires people on the streets to give way to pedestrians. Plus, they have to let even those waiting for a while crossing the road before them. There’s a worry that car traffic could come to a halt with so many people walking around. If you’re behind the wheel and have to wait for pedestrians to cross so that you can turn, then you may find tempers fraying and increasing levels of road rage.
There is a lot of hate between drivers and cyclists.
Other changes seem destined to aggravate the traditional rivalry between drivers and cyclists. For example, the previous version supported cycling so long as you rode in a single file. “You can ride two abreast, and it can be safer to do so, particularly in larger groups or when accompanying children or less experienced riders.”
“£1,000 fine for opening a door with the wrong hand”
Some of the more sensationalist press hasn’t yet noticed how widespread the noise of discontent & uncertainty is. The recent article from the Evening Standard sounds that the New Highway Code “will fine drivers £1,000 for opening door with wrong hand” They misrepresent the situation a lot. The code says
“Where you can do so, you should open the door using your hand on the opposite side to the door you are opening; for example, use your left hand to open a door on your right-hand side. This will make you turn your head to look over your shoulder. As a result, you are more likely to avoid causing injury to cyclists or motorcyclists passing you on the road or to people on the pavement.”
The headline figure of £1000 relates to the penalty for injuring someone with a door when opening it. It is not a fine for opening an incorrectly-handed door.
Keep up to date
So, as you can see, some people are unhappy with the new Highway Code. But we recommend that everyone look at the revised code, as many of us probably haven’t had time to look it over since they learned how to drive.