The Highway Code is updated to prioritise pedestrians and cyclists

The Highway Code was updated on Saturday 29 January to improve road safety and make active travel an attractive alternative to driving.

Record numbers of people are now cycling, and The Highway Code is changing to reflect the way we use our roads. The changes improve road safety for people who are most likely to be injured if there’s a crash, such as people riding bikes or walking.

What are the changes?

The Highway Code has introduced a new hierarchy of road users. The hierarchy prioritises people most at risk of harm in the event of a collision. This means that someone driving will have greater responsibility to look out for people cycling, walking or riding a horse. This is a huge change and an exciting step forward for road safety in the UK.

As well as this shift in responsibility, many rules have been updated:

  • Drivers should now give pedestrians crossing and waiting to cross and cyclists going straight ahead priority when turning in and out of junctions.
  • Drivers should leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking people cycling at speeds of up to 30mph and give them more space when overtaking at higher speeds.
  • When driving, you should now pass horse riders and horse-drawn vehicles at speeds under 10 mph and allow at least 2 metres of space.
  • Drivers should now allow at least 2 metres of space and keep to a low speed when passing a pedestrian who is walking in the road.
  • Car users should now open their doors with the hand furthest from the door, to help them look over their shoulder to see cyclists or pedestrians nearby. This is known as the Dutch Reach method.
  • People may cycle in the centre of the lane or two abreast for their own safety, whilst allowing others to overtake when it is safe for them to do so.

Learn more

To learn more about the changes, click here or download The Highway Code update guide:

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