2022 Freeway Code modifications: 7 million drivers unaware of recent guidelines for automobiles, 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 tens of millions 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, doubtlessly placing themselves and others in danger.

Auto Categorical raised issues earlier than the modifications have been carried out 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 achieved 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 basically shift the dynamics of shared use,” stated IAM RoadSmart coverage director Neil Greig. “This can be a severe security danger which may 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 street junctions, whereas cyclists have precedence when passing a turning automobile, beneath a brand new hierarchy of street customers. When the modifications have been introduced, Hojol Uddin, a motoring lawyer at JMW Solicitors, stated the brand new guidelines could give some cyclists the arrogance to take extra dangers on the street.

“My concern is there can be a scenario the place automobile homeowners 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 revealed till the spring.

Though the DfT established a working group to resolve how the modifications 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 modifications are clearly defined, with easy, correct and memorable messages.”

What are the 2022 Freeway Code modifications?

Rule H1: New hierarchy of street 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 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 method to pedestrians crossing or ready to cross a street into which or from which you might be turning. You need 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 minimize throughout cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn automobiles going forward when 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 monitor, or driving forward on the street and it’s best to give method 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 look ahead to a protected hole within the circulation of cyclists if mandatory.

Q&A: DfT on the 2022 Freeway Code revisions

We spoke to the Division for Transport in late 2021 concerning 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 turn out to be legislation on 29 Jan 2022? (And may 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 modifications 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 fairly 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 identical to you wouldn’t minimize 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 (beneath the Site visitors Acts) to determine legal responsibility. This consists of the foundations which use advisory wording comparable to ‘ought to/shouldn’t’ or ‘do/don’t’.  

Enforcement of the legislation is a matter for the police who will resolve, 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 so on?

DfT: The brand new guidelines apply to all street 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 reality 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. Nonetheless, 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 affect, 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 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 provide precedence to anybody going straight forward.

“This easy change clarifies the foundations 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 arrogance 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 improve battle on the street fairly than scale back it.  Informing each street consumer within the UK concerning the new guidelines can be an enormous activity significantly when most drivers assume they’re competent and don’t have to refresh their abilities.

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

Weak street customers deserve the best  safety from motorised automobiles however merely altering a guide nobody reads is unlikely to ship the affect hoped for. In our view funding in segregated amenities stays the easiest way to encourage individuals to contemplate energetic journey as an actual different.” Neil Greig, Coverage Director, IAM RoadSmart.

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

“The encouragement of extra ‘energetic journey’ and a growth 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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