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

The Freeway Code was topic to a collection of serious modifications early in 2022, however analysis by the IAM Roadsmart charity suggests thousands and thousands of drivers aren’t conscious.

The charity surveyed 1,000 drivers, and located 20 p.c 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 modifications, probably placing themselves and others in danger.

Auto Specific raised considerations earlier than the modifications have been applied that communication of the modifications 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 completed a great job of speaking modifications to the Freeway Code?’

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

As of 29 January, pedestrians have new precedence when crossing highway junctions, whereas cyclists have precedence when passing a turning automotive, below a brand new hierarchy of highway customers. When the modifications have 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 highway.

“My concern is there will probably be a state of affairs the place automotive homeowners usually tend to be prosecuted now than they have been earlier than,” he instructed us.

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

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

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

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

What are the 2022 Freeway Code modifications?

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, vehicles/taxis and bikes. Cyclists and horse riders likewise have a accountability 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 highway into which or from which you’re turning. You must give option to pedestrians ready to cross a zebra crossing (presently you solely have to offer 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 vehicles are turning You shouldn’t reduce throughout cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn automobiles going forward when 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 monitor, or driving forward on the highway and it’s best to give option 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. You must cease and await a protected hole within the circulation of cyclists if crucial.

Q&A: DfT on the 2022 Freeway Code revisions

We spoke to the Division for Transport in late 2021 in regards to the 2022 Freeway Code modifications…

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

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

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

DfT: The brand new rule to offer precedence to cyclists going straight forward doesn’t search to alter the regulation however fairly 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 won’t, 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 ascertain legal responsibility. This consists of the principles which use advisory wording comparable to ‘ought to/shouldn’t’ or ‘do/don’t’.  

Enforcement of the regulation 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 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 actually extraordinarily closely skewed in favour of the activist biking foyer?  (Biking UK claimed to have offered 75 p.c of responses by means 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 modifications to drivers, given the time-frame to implementation is so quick. Will there be nationwide TV or social media advert campaigns, for instance? 

DfT: We agree that for the modifications to have the specified influence, it is going to be necessary that they’re supported by focused consciousness elevating and behavior change communications.

Our well-established THINK! marketing campaign will probably be creating a communications marketing campaign to help implementation of the modifications, each at launch and past, timed seasonally to help instances of elevated energetic journey.

Responses to the Freeway Code modifications:

“Almost 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 offer precedence to anybody going straight forward.

“This easy change clarifies the principles at junctions, and is a significant step in the direction of embedding a customized that would make an enormous distinction to bicycle owner and pedestrian security. It additionally provides freeway designers the boldness to design higher biking and strolling infrastructure comparable to cycle lanes and cycle paths that go throughout the mouths of side-roads, making them less complicated, 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 highway fairly than scale back it.  Informing each highway person within the UK in regards to the new guidelines will probably be an enormous process significantly when most drivers assume they’re competent and don’t have to refresh their expertise.

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

Weak highway customers deserve the 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 simplest ways to encourage folks to think about energetic journey as an actual different.” Neil Greig, Coverage Director, IAM RoadSmart.

“The modifications to the Freeway Code are a reminder that each one highway customers have a accountability to take care of each other, specifically probably 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 folks on bicycles has remodeled 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 take a look at, 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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