A safer Highway Code for cyclists
Confused about the changes to the Highway Code? Don’t be!
What are the new Highway Code rules?
Some of the key changes in the new Highway Code include:
- The introduction of the ‘Hierarchy of Users’ or ‘Hierarchy of Responsibility’, recognising that road users who pose greater risks to others ought to have a higher level of responsibility.
- Simplification of the rules relating to junctions where there aren’t any traffic signals, to make junctions safer and address ‘left-hook’ collisions.
- New rules to tackle dangerous overtaking and ‘close passes’, with a guideline minimum safe passing distance of 1.5m.
- Clearer guidance on looking before opening your car door, including the ‘Dutch Reach’ technique, to help prevent ‘car-dooring’
Cycling UK’s role in campaigning for change:
These are just some of around 50 Highway Code changes. We asked supporters to back our proposals for 10 key changes, all of which have been accepted, although the changes to overtaking rule 163 and group riding rule 66 aren’t exactly as we suggested.
These new rules should help address many of the everyday problems people who cycle face on the roads, and help educate drivers, feeding into driving lessons and tests, enabling the police to deal with bad driving which puts people cycling and walking at risk.
You can read our full response to the government’s consultation on these changes online, which received our largest-ever campaign response – more than 16,500 people wrote to the Department of Transport to support the changes we proposed.
Highway Code timeline
- March 2017: Cycling UK launches Too Close for Comfort campaign to tackle dangerous close passes and press for changes to Highway Code overtaking rules.
- April 2018: Cycling UK launches Cycle Safety: Make it Simple campaign, calling for road safety changes including a revised Highway Code, backed by more than 10,000 members and supporters.
- June 2018: Cycling UK picks up British Cycling’s Turning the Corner campaign for changes to junction priority rules, pressing for these to be included in the new Highway Code rules.
- November 2018: In response to our Cycle Safety: Make it Simple campaign, the government promises to review the Highway Code to make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
- November 2018-present: Cycling UK’s policy director Roger Geffen works with stakeholders to influence proposals for changes to the Highway Code.
- June 2019: Cycling UK launches Dutch Reach campaign to tackle car-dooring.
- June 2020: Cycling UK launches major Highway Code campaign supported by almost 17,000 people, in response to the government’s consultation on Highway Code changes.
- December 2021-present: Cycling UK presses the government on the absence of any public awareness campaign for the Highway Code changes.