2022 changes to the Highway Code

How cyclists, drivers and pedestrians are affected.

These changes came into force on Saturday 29 January 2022.

Highway Code Hierarchy

Drivers of any vehicles deemed to be more dangerous, such as buses and HGVs, must now be extra careful on the roads.

2022 changes to the Highway Code

How cyclists, drivers and pedestrians are affected.

These changes came into force on Saturday 29 January 2022.

Highway Code Hierarchy

Drivers of any vehicles deemed to be more dangerous, such as buses and HGVs, must now be extra careful on the roads.

Drivers no longer have priority at junctions

Now: If you’re turning at a junction and there’s a cyclist, horse-rider, pedestrian or scooter, ready or preparing to cross, these more vulnerable road users have right of way.

Penalty: If an incident occurs, the fault will automatically lie with those ‘who can do the greatest harm’ unless proven otherwise. Liability falling on you will affect your insurance, there could be possible court costs and depending on the severity of the incident, fine, penalty points and/or jail time.

Before: Drivers had priority at junctions unless the other road user was half way across the junction.

Drivers no longer have priority at junctions

Now: If you’re turning at a junction and there’s a cyclist, horse-rider, pedestrian or scooter, ready or preparing to cross, these more vulnerable road users have right of way.

Penalty: If an incident occurs, the fault will automatically lie with those ‘who can do the greatest harm’ unless proven otherwise. Liability falling on you will affect your insurance, there could be possible court costs and depending on the severity of the incident, fine, penalty points and/or jail time.

Before: Drivers had priority at junctions unless the other road user was half way across the junction.

All traffic must stop for pedestrians waiting at crossings

Now: The Code has been updated so cyclists, horse riders and motorists are legally required to stop at zebra crossings if people are waiting to cross, not just if they are already crossing.

Penalty: If a vehicle fails to follow the new requirements, those waiting may report the registration of a vehicle to the police, with multiple witnesses and dash cam footage. This will earn you a fine and penalty points.

Before: Cyclists, vehicles and horse riders only had to stop at zebra and parallel crossings if someone was already crossing, with a warning to slow down on the approach to a zebra crossing in anticipation of pedestrians.

All traffic must stop for pedestrians waiting at crossings

Now: The Code has been updated so cyclists, horse riders and motorists are legally required to stop at zebra crossings if people are waiting to cross, not just if they are already crossing.

Penalty: If a vehicle fails to follow the new requirements, those waiting may report the registration of a vehicle to the police, with multiple witnesses and dash cam footage. This will earn you a fine and penalty points.

Before: Cyclists, vehicles and horse riders only had to stop at zebra and parallel crossings if someone was already crossing, with a warning to slow down on the approach to a zebra crossing in anticipation of pedestrians.

Cyclists’ position on roads

Now: Cyclists are required to ride no less than half a metre from the verge or kerb, ‘further where it is safer’. Motorists must pass cyclists with at least 1.5m of space up to 30mph; more distance is required for higher speeds. Cyclists are expected to pull to the left on quieter roads, in slower-moving traffic and at busy junctions to maximise safer overtaking opportunities.

Penalty: With more legal authority to protect cyclists, police may make a determined attempt to charge drivers, resulting in penalty points and an obligatory fine.

Before: Until now, cyclists have only been required to ride on the left side of the road (i.e., not against the flow of traffic) and to use bicycle lights at night. They are advised to wear visible clothing and a helmet.

Cyclists’ position on roads

Now: Cyclists are required to ride no less than half a metre from the verge or kerb, ‘further where it is safer’. Motorists must pass cyclists with at least 1.5m of space up to 30mph; more distance is required for higher speeds. Cyclists are expected to pull to the left on quieter roads, in slower-moving traffic and at busy junctions to maximise safer overtaking opportunities.

Penalty: With more legal authority to protect cyclists, police may make a determined attempt to charge drivers, resulting in penalty points and an obligatory fine.

Before: Until now, cyclists have only been required to ride on the left side of the road (i.e., not against the flow of traffic) and to use bicycle lights at night. They are advised to wear visible clothing and a helmet.

Cycling in groups

Now: Motorists are advised against cutting across cyclists’ right of way and explicitly instructed to treat cyclists like another motor vehicle.

Penalty: Since this is an advisory, rather than a legal requirement, the penalty will only be decided in the case of collision.

Before: There was no requirement for drivers to treat cyclists as though they were other vehicles, simply tacit guidance.

Cycling in groups

Now: Motorists are advised against cutting across cyclists’ right of way and explicitly instructed to treat cyclists like another motor vehicle.

Penalty: Since this is an advisory, rather than a legal requirement, the penalty will only be decided in the case of collision.

Before: There was no requirement for drivers to treat cyclists as though they were other vehicles, simply tacit guidance.

All uses of hand-held mobiles are banned, except in an emergency

Now: The 2022 update prohibits any driver from using their handheld device for anything, including taking videos or photos, scrolling through playlists or playing games — EVEN if the vehicle isn’t moving. While you can use mobile phones for hands-free calls, payment at tolls or booths and satellite navigation, they’ll need to be securely fixed..

Penalty: Motorists will face a £200 fine and six penalty points, if caught touching their mobiles during their journeys. For newly qualified drivers, six points would see new licences revoked.

Before: The use of mobile phones to call and text has been banned since December 2003. The Code however didn’t specify using your mobile phone for other reasons though.

All uses of hand-held mobiles are banned, except in an emergency

Now: The 2022 update prohibits any driver from using their handheld device for anything, including taking videos or photos, scrolling through playlists or playing games — EVEN if the vehicle isn’t moving. While you can use mobile phones for hands-free calls, payment at tolls or booths and satellite navigation, they’ll need to be securely fixed..

Penalty: Motorists will face a £200 fine and six penalty points, if caught touching their mobiles during their journeys. For newly qualified drivers, six points would see new licences revoked.

Before: The use of mobile phones to call and text has been banned since December 2003. The Code however didn’t specify using your mobile phone for other reasons though.

Parking, charging and leaving vehicles

Now: The Dutch Reach is recommended to cut the number of cyclists hit by car doors swinging open unexpectedly. This involves the hand furthest from the door to open it. This prompts a passenger or driver to swivel their bodies and, in turn, heads to look over their shoulder and be more mindful of passing cyclists.

Penalty: There’s not a specific penalty, as this is guidance rather than law.

Before: You can exit your vehicle any way you’d like, taking care to check mirrors and check over your shoulder for any oncoming traffic.

Parking, charging and leaving vehicles

Now: The Dutch Reach is recommended to cut the number of cyclists hit by car doors swinging open unexpectedly. This involves the hand furthest from the door to open it. This prompts a passenger or driver to swivel their bodies and, in turn, heads to look over their shoulder and be more mindful of passing cyclists.

Penalty: There’s not a specific penalty, as this is guidance rather than law.

Before: You can exit your vehicle any way you’d like, taking care to check mirrors and check over your shoulder for any oncoming traffic.

Find out about all the changes

In total, 9 sections of The Highway Code will be updated, with 50 rules being added or updated.

You can see a summary of all the changes in The Highway Code updates list on GOV.UK.

Find out about all the changes

In total, 9 sections of The Highway Code will be updated, with 50 rules being added or updated.

You can see a summary of all the changes in The Highway Code updates list on GOV.UK.

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