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

The Freeway Code was topic to a collection of serious adjustments early in 2022, however analysis by the IAM Roadsmart charity suggests hundreds of thousands 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 might imply as much as 7 million drivers are carrying on whatever the adjustments, probably placing themselves and others in danger.

Auto Categorical raised issues earlier than the adjustments have been carried out 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 assume the Authorities has carried out an excellent 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 basically shift the dynamics of shared use,” mentioned IAM RoadSmart coverage director Neil Greig. “It is a critical security danger which may really 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 highway junctions, whereas cyclists have precedence when passing a turning automobile, below a brand new hierarchy of highway customers. When the adjustments have been introduced, Hojol Uddin, a motoring lawyer at JMW Solicitors, mentioned the brand new guidelines could give some cyclists the arrogance to take extra dangers on the highway.

“My concern is there can be a state of affairs the place automobile house owners usually tend to be prosecuted now than they have been earlier than,” he informed 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 because of be printed 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 Categorical that inadequate communication was a danger.

Duncan Dollimore, Biking UK’s head of campaigns, informed us: “Many individuals gained’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 highway customers Drivers of automobiles that may trigger the best hurt within the occasion of a collision bear the best accountability 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 accountability to cut back hazard to pedestrians.

Rule H2: New precedence for pedestrians at junctions At a junction, drivers, motorcyclists, horse riders and cyclists ought to give method to pedestrians crossing or ready to cross a highway into which or from which you might be turning. It is best to give method to pedestrians ready to cross a zebra crossing (at the moment you solely have to provide approach 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 reduce throughout cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn automobiles going forward if you find yourself turning into or out of a junction or altering path or lane. This is applicable whether or not they’re utilizing a cycle lane, a cycle observe, or driving forward on the highway and it is best to give method to them. Don’t flip at a junction if to take action would trigger the bicycle owner, horse rider or horse drawn car going straight forward to cease or swerve. It is best to cease and look ahead to a protected hole within the stream 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 affirm the impact of the Statutory Instrument is that the Freeway Code adjustments outlined – particularly these pertaining to new proper of approach guidelines for cyclists – will develop into legislation on 29 Jan 2022? (And might thus be legally enforced?)

DfT: The proposed alterations to The Freeway Code can be carried out 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 provide method to cyclists per the brand new guidelines?

DfT: The brand new rule to provide 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 highway use that advantages all customers. You shouldn’t reduce throughout a bicycle owner identical to you wouldn’t reduce throughout one other motorist. 

Though failure to adjust to the ‘advisory guidelines’ of the Code is not going to, in itself, trigger an individual to be prosecuted, The Freeway Code could also be utilized in proof in any court docket proceedings (below the Visitors Acts) to determine legal responsibility. This consists of the principles which use advisory wording akin to ‘ought to/shouldn’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 additionally they apply to electrical cycles, e-scooters, mopeds, bikes, and many others?

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

AE: How does the DfT reply to the cost that the session outcomes are in actual fact extraordinarily closely skewed in favour of the activist biking foyer?  (Biking UK claimed to have offered 75 % of responses via ‘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 influence, it will likely be necessary that they’re supported by focused consciousness elevating and behavior change communications.

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

Responses to the Freeway Code adjustments:

“Practically three-quarters of crashes involving cyclists happen at junctions and there are fourteen Freeway Code guidelines meant to discourage drivers from overtaking, reducing in and working 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 provide 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 might make an enormous distinction to bicycle owner and pedestrian security. It additionally provides freeway designers the arrogance to design higher biking and strolling infrastructure akin 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 improve battle on the highway reasonably than scale back it.  Informing each highway person within the UK concerning the new guidelines can be an enormous process significantly when most drivers assume they’re competent and don’t must refresh their expertise.

Getting the communications proper can be essential when some cyclists begin exercising their new rights to undertake site visitors and put themselves in danger. 

Weak highway customers deserve the very best  safety from motorised automobiles however merely altering a ebook nobody reads is unlikely to ship the influence hoped for. In our view funding in segregated amenities stays one of the best ways to encourage individuals to contemplate energetic journey as an actual various.” Neil Greig, Coverage Director, IAM RoadSmart.

“The adjustments to the Freeway Code are a reminder that every one highway customers have a accountability to take care of each other, particularly essentially the most weak ones: pedestrian, cyclists, different two-wheeled transport and horse riders.

“The encouragement of extra ‘energetic journey’ and a increase in deliveries by individuals on bicycles has reworked highway 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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