Highway Code updates will see DfT introduce these three new driving laws in 2020


The changes will see three new laws introduced to the road which will include extra safety measures for pedestrians and cyclists and a new “Hierarchy of Road Users” concept. This policy means those road users who can do the greatest harm will have the biggest responsibility to reduce road danger. 

The DfT says the new hierarchy system is not set to give priority to pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders in every situation but will ensure a “mutually respectful” and “considerate culture”. 

New legislation says this will apply most strongly to drivers of large vehicles, followed by cars and taxis. 

However cyclists, horse riders and horse drawn vehicles will also have a responsibility to pedestrians if there are no cars nearby. 

In a statement online, the DfT says: “Everyone suffers when road collisions occur, whether they are physically injured or not. 

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“But those in charge of vehicles that can cause the greatest harm in the event of a collision bear the greatest responsibility to take care and reduce the danger they pose to others. 

“This principle applies most strongly to drivers of large goods and passenger vehicles, followed by vans/minibuses, cars/taxis and motorcycles.

“Cyclists, horse riders and horse drawn vehicles likewise have a responsibility to reduce danger to pedestrians. 

“Always remember that the people you encounter may have impaired sight, hearing or mobility, and may not be able to see or hear you.

“None of this detracts from the responsibility of all road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders, to have regard for their own and other road users’ safety.”

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The new rules will also better protect cyclists with drivers possibly issued fines for cutting across riders while moving their vehicle.

It says drivers cannot cut across cyclists when turning into a junction or changing lanes just as they would not turn across the path of a motor vehicle. 

Drivers should also give way to drivers and will be told to stop and wait for a safe gap in the flow of cyclists if necessary. 

The changes will also recommend the “Dutch Reach” concept where drivers should check whether a cyclist is in their blindspot when opening their car door. 

“A part of that is making it crystal clear we all have a shared responsibility to ensure one another’s safety on the road – after all, whether you are travelling on foot, on a bicycle or in a motor vehicle, everybody simply wants to get to their destination as safely as possible.”

He added: “But we do feel there is some detail that needs to be looked at more closely. 

“For example, we need to consider just how practical, and indeed safe it is to advise drivers to give way to pedestrians waiting to cross a road at a junction when traffic from another direction may be approaching.”

The RAC warned research had suggested that only 49 percent of road users have consulted their Highway Code at any time over the last 10 years. 

Mr Lyes said it was “vital” that every change made to the Code was well communicated so motorists were not caught out by the updates. 





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