Cycling UK calls for government to ensure motorists are made aware of Highway Code changes
A cycling charity is calling for more to be done to inform motorists of forthcoming changes to the Highway Code in 2022.
Cycling UK is calling on the government to ensure the British public are made aware of the changes to the Highway Code, saying “now is the time to right the misunderstanding on our roads.”
On 29 January, a new hierarchy of road users is set to be introduced according to who is most at risk in the event of a collision.
Cycling UK says it is concerned not enough has been done to communicate the changes to road users across the UK.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns said: “Cycling UK is concerned the forthcoming improvements to road safety outlined in the latest revision of the Highway Code, which will benefit everyone, are not being communicated through official channels. In a month’s time, our Highway Code should change for the better, but these changes will be of limited benefit if the public aren’t aware of them.”
Following an extensive consultation on how to improve the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders, known collectively as vulnerable road users, the changes were laid as a Statutory Instrument in Parliament on 1 December.
When passed, the Highway Code update will include a new hierarchy of road users.
For the first time in Britain the law will recognise that those who pose the greatest risk on our roads to others have a higher level of responsibility.
This means someone cycling will have greater responsibility to look out for people walking, while someone driving would have greater responsibility to look out for people cycling, walking or riding a horse.
“Many people won’t have read the Highway Code for years, so it’s essential that the key changes are clearly explained, with simple, accurate and memorable messages,” said Mr Dollimore. “These changes have legal implications. Just as we saw with the introduction of other road safety measures like mandatory seat belts and stricter drink driving laws, the public needs to be accurately informed about the new rules. The hierarchy of responsibility and changes to junction priority need to be explained and communicated properly, regardless of whether or not everyone agrees with them.
“Once the public has been clearly informed about the update, there’s a requirement to bring people on a journey to understand and appreciate why these changes are necessary.”
Other changes that are due to come into force in 2022 are stricter rules on mobile phone usage when driving.
Texting or calling whilst at the wheel has been illegal since 2003, however, now the laws are to change meaning it will also become an offence to take photos and videos, select a song on your playlist and play games on your phone while driving, even if you are stopped at a red light.
Failing to observe this rule could cost you a £200 fixed penalty and six points on your licence.
If you have your phone on a hands-free device then you will still be allowed to use it for directions.
Another change that will come into force from July 2022 will be the introduction of speed limiters on new cars.
Red diesel and rebated biofuels will become illegal for most vehicles from 1 April 2022, but agriculture, horticulture, fish farming, forestry and rail will be exempt from the law change.