The new highway code hierarchy explained – and cyclists get priority over drivers

DRIVERS will soon have to give extra priority to cyclists that are travelling onUK roads.

The new rule coming into effect will mean drivers won't have as much power on the road when it comes to cyclists.

New rules coming into effect this month will mean drivers need to be more aware than ever of cyclists on the road.

Previously in the Highway Code, no road position for cyclists was mentioned and they were only given priority if already on the road.

But from January 29, 2022 a new Highway Code is coming into force.

This lays out that cars turning left or right on the road will have to give way to any cyclists that are behind them and planning to go straight on.

Drivers must always leave 1.5 metres of space between their vehicle and a cyclist when overtaking at speeds up to 30mph.

Cyclists must ride in the middle of the road, instead of on the left-hand side.

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When it comes to roundabouts, cyclists should not be overtaken and must be given plenty of room, the new Highway Code says.

Drivers should also give way to cyclists at roundabouts as they travel at a much slower speed than vehicles.

What is the Highway Code hierarchy?

The "Hierarchy of Road Users" is a concept that ranks road users in order of those who are most at risk in the event of an accident.

It is no surprise that pedestrians top the group, as they can cause the least harm on the road but are highly vulnerable in an accident.

According to the Highway Code hierarchy, those higher in the list must be vigilant of all those lower in the list.

Drivers of any vehicles deemed to be more dangerous, such as buses and HGVs, must now be extra careful on the roads.

The new Highway Code hierarchy is as follows:

  1. Pedestrians
  2. Cyclists
  3. Horse Riders
  4. Motorcyclists
  5. Cars/taxis
  6. Vans/minibuses
  7. Large passenger vehicles or courier vehicles like buses and HGVs

Drivers will also have give way to pedestrians when they are crossing the road.

Motorists will no longer have priority at junctions and will have to let pedestrians cross the road if they are waiting.

The new Highway Code says: "‘At a junction you should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from which you are turning."

When stuck in traffic or on a slow moving road, pedestrians and cyclists will be able to cross in front of drivers.

Rules for pedestrians already on the roads – such those using a zebra crossing, crossing at a junction and crossing a signal controlled pelican crossing – will stay the same.

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