2022 Freeway Code adjustments: 7 million drivers unaware of recent guidelines for automobiles, cyclists and HGVs

The Freeway Code was topic to a collection of great adjustments early in 2022, however analysis by the IAM Roadsmart charity suggests tens of millions of drivers aren’t conscious.

The charity surveyed 1,000 drivers, and located 20 % of them didn’t know the Freeway Code guidelines have modified. If the survey result’s consultant of the nationwide image, that would imply as much as 7 million drivers are carrying on whatever the adjustments, doubtlessly placing themselves and others in danger.

Auto Specific raised issues earlier than the adjustments had been applied that communication of the adjustments appeared woefully insufficient. IAM’s survey bears this out, with simply over half the surveyed pattern disagreeing with the query ​​’Do you suppose the Authorities has finished job of speaking adjustments to the Freeway Code?’

“An alarming variety of motorists are driving on Britain’s roads with out consciousness of key adjustments which essentially shift the dynamics of shared use,” mentioned IAM RoadSmart coverage director Neil Greig. “It is a critical security threat which might truly see the up to date code inflicting extra battle on our roads reasonably than much less.”

As of 29 January, pedestrians have new precedence when crossing street junctions, whereas cyclists have precedence when passing a turning automobile, beneath a brand new hierarchy of street customers. When the adjustments had been introduced, Hojol Uddin, a motoring lawyer at JMW Solicitors, mentioned the brand new guidelines might give some cyclists the boldness to take extra dangers on the street.

“My concern is there will likely be a scenario the place automobile house owners usually tend to be prosecuted now than they had been earlier than,” he advised us.

Uddin additionally shared issues that the Division for Transport (DfT) was “railroading” the brand new guidelines in with out correctly informing the general public first.

Whereas the web model of the Freeway Code was up to date instantly, bodily copies containing the brand new guidelines weren’t attributable to be revealed till the spring.

Though the DfT established a working group to determine how the adjustments ought to be communicated to the general public, a spokesperson for Biking UK – one of many organisations inside that group – additionally raised issues to Auto Specific that inadequate communication was a threat.

Duncan Dollimore, Biking UK’s head of campaigns, advised us: “Many individuals received’t have learn the Freeway Code for years, so it’s important that the important thing adjustments are clearly defined, with easy, correct and memorable messages.”

What are the 2022 Freeway Code adjustments?

Rule H1: New hierarchy of street customers Drivers of autos that may trigger the best hurt within the occasion of a collision bear the best duty to take care and scale back the hazard to others. This precept applies most strongly to drivers of HGVs, LGVs, automobiles/taxis and bikes. Cyclists and horse riders likewise have a duty to scale back hazard to pedestrians.

Rule H2: New precedence for pedestrians at junctions At a junction, drivers, motorcyclists, horse riders and cyclists ought to give option to pedestrians crossing or ready to cross a street into which or from which you’re turning. You need to give option to pedestrians ready to cross a zebra crossing (presently you solely have to present method in the event that they’re already on the crossing), and to pedestrians and cyclists ready to cross a parallel crossing.


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Rule H3: New precedence for cyclists when automobiles are turning You shouldn’t minimize throughout cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn autos going forward if you find yourself turning into or out of a junction or altering course or lane. This is applicable whether or not they’re utilizing a cycle lane, a cycle observe, or driving forward on the street and it is best to give option to them. Don’t flip at a junction if to take action would trigger the bike owner, horse rider or horse drawn automobile going straight forward to cease or swerve. You need to cease and anticipate a protected hole within the movement of cyclists if obligatory.

Q&A: DfT on the 2022 Freeway Code revisions

We spoke to the Division for Transport in late 2021 concerning the 2022 Freeway Code adjustments…

AE: Are you able to verify the impact of the Statutory Instrument is that the Freeway Code adjustments outlined – particularly these pertaining to new proper of method guidelines for cyclists – will turn into legislation on 29 Jan 2022? (And may thus be legally enforced?)

DfT: The proposed alterations to The Freeway Code will likely be applied on the very finish of January 2022. The proposed adjustments to The Freeway Code are advisory solely and never underpinned by legislation.

AE: What are the penalties for drivers failing to present option to cyclists per the brand new guidelines?

DfT: The brand new rule to present precedence to cyclists going straight forward doesn’t search to vary the legislation however reasonably to make sure a extra mutually respectful and thoughtful tradition of protected and efficient street use that advantages all customers. You shouldn’t minimize throughout a bike owner similar to you wouldn’t minimize throughout one other motorist. 

Though failure to adjust to the ‘advisory guidelines’ of the Code won’t, in itself, trigger an individual to be prosecuted, The Freeway Code could also be utilized in proof in any court docket proceedings (beneath the Visitors Acts) to determine legal responsibility. This consists of the principles which use advisory wording corresponding to ‘ought to/mustn’t’ or ‘do/don’t’.  

Enforcement of the legislation is a matter for the police who will determine, on the proof of every particular person case, whether or not an offence has been dedicated and the suitable motion to take. 

AE: Do the brand new priorities apply to cyclists solely, or do in addition they apply to electrical cycles, e-scooters, mopeds, bikes, and so on?

DfT: The brand new guidelines apply to all street customers. For instance, motorists ought to give option to cyclists and cyclists ought to give option to pedestrians. It stays unlawful to trip a privately owned scooter on public land.

AE: How does the DfT reply to the cost that the session outcomes are in truth extraordinarily closely skewed in favour of the activist biking foyer?  (Biking UK claimed to have supplied 75 % of responses by way of ‘profitable campaigning’.)

DfT: We’re unable to touch upon the Biking UK claims. Nevertheless, our session evaluation signifies that over 60 per cent of respondents recognized themselves as a motorist.

AE: What’s the plan to speak these wide-ranging adjustments to drivers, given the time-frame to implementation is so brief. Will there be nationwide TV or social media advert campaigns, for instance? 

DfT: We agree that for the adjustments to have the specified affect, it will likely be necessary that they’re supported by focused consciousness elevating and behavior change communications.

Our well-established THINK! marketing campaign will likely be growing a communications marketing campaign to help implementation of the adjustments, each at launch and past, timed seasonally to help instances of elevated lively journey.

Responses to the Freeway Code adjustments:

“Almost three-quarters of crashes involving cyclists happen at junctions and there are fourteen Freeway Code guidelines meant to discourage drivers from overtaking, chopping in and operating into pedestrians and cyclists crossing side-road junctions.

“A number of guidelines results in confusion, whereas, most European international locations have a common precedence rule, the place whoever is popping right into a junction has to present precedence to anybody going straight forward.

“This easy change clarifies the principles at junctions, and is a significant step in direction of embedding a customized that would make an enormous distinction to bike owner and pedestrian security. It additionally offers freeway designers the boldness to design higher biking and strolling infrastructure corresponding to cycle lanes and cycle paths that go throughout the mouths of side-roads, making them easier, safer and extra environment friendly for everybody.” Duncan Dollimore, Biking UK Head of Campaigns

“IAM RoadSmart are involved the brand new Freeway Code will enhance battle on the street reasonably than scale back it.  Informing each street person within the UK concerning the new guidelines will likely be an enormous process significantly when most drivers suppose they’re competent and don’t must refresh their abilities.

Getting the communications proper will likely be vital when some cyclists begin exercising their new rights to undertake visitors and put themselves in danger. 

Susceptible street customers deserve the very best  safety from motorised autos however merely altering a guide nobody reads is unlikely to ship the affect hoped for. In our view funding in segregated services stays one of the best ways to encourage individuals to think about lively journey as an actual various.” Neil Greig, Coverage Director, IAM RoadSmart.

“The adjustments to the Freeway Code are a reminder that each one street customers have a duty to take care of each other, particularly probably the most susceptible ones: pedestrian, cyclists, different two-wheeled transport and horse riders.

“The encouragement of extra ‘lively journey’ and a increase in deliveries by individuals on bicycles has remodeled street use to some extent, and the Freeway Code wanted to be up to date to mirror that.

“As most individuals don’t learn the Freeway Code as soon as they’ve handed their check, all drivers might want to guarantee they learn and perceive the brand new guidelines.” Edmund King, AA president.

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Patrick Moore

Patrick is our chief editor and he's very passionate about cars. He has a bachelor's degree in marketing and he studies journalism. His favorite brand is BMW and he drives an X5 series. When he's not writing for Vehiclenews.net, he enjoys spending time with his family and 9 years old son.

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