Key changes to the highway code that you should know about

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The 29th of January marked a key milestone in what is hoped to be a huge improvement for the safety of all road users, as changes to the highway code are to be implemented from this date onwards.

The key theme for the majority of changes are to help improve the safety of vulnerable road users such as walkers, cyclists and horse riders. Below are a few of the key rules that you should follow to keep everyone safe whilst using our roads.

  1. At least a 1.5 metre gap must be left when overtaking cyclists, increasing to 2 metres when overtaking horse riders. A speed limit of 10mph is also in place when overtaking horse riders, in order to minimise the chance of the horse from being spooked.
  2. Cyclists and Horse Riders must not be overtaken when travelling around a roundabout, as this will minimise the likelihood of collisions occurring by failing to spot other road users on a roundabout.
  3. Implementation of the ‘Dutch reach’ technique. This applies to motorists when exiting their parked car on a street. The Dutch reach technique allows motorists to open their door with the arm that is opposite to the door they are exiting from, and means that motorists can look over their shoulder to check for oncoming traffic when opening the door.
  4. Cyclists must keep at least a 0.5 metre gap from the kerb when in busy traffic, and cycle in the middle of the road when on quiet roads.
  5. Cyclists must be cautious when overtaking pedestrians on shared paths, and not carry excessive speed when overtaking.
  6. Pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross at a T junction have priority over vehicles attempting to turn into the junction.

These rules all revolve around a change in the hierarchy of road users, with more emphasis being placed on the safety of cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders, it is hoped that with these changes we will continue to see an improvement in safety of all road users.

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