THE Highway Code has been updated to improve how we all share our roads and understand our responsibility for the safety of others.

Starting today (Saturday), the Department for Transport (DfT) has introduced eight new rules for drivers to follow and updated ten sections of the Highway Code.

The full Highway Code is more than 150 pages long with more than 300 rules.

The DfT say the rules for all types of road users have been updated to improve the safety of people walking, cycling and riding horses.

Isle of Wight County Press:

The key amendments to the code are:

  • Introducing a hierarchy of road users, to ensure those who can do the greatest harm, have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others.
  • Clarifying existing rules on pedestrian priority on pavements, to advise drivers and riders they should give way to pedestrians crossing, or waiting to cross, the road.
  • Providing guidance on cyclist priority at junctions, to advise drivers to give priority when travelling straight ahead.
  • Establishing guidance on safe passing distances and speeds when overtaking cyclists and horse riders.

The changes follow a public consultation on a review of The Highway Code, to improve road safety for people walking, cycling and riding horses.

It ran from July to October 2020 and received more than 20,000 responses from the public, businesses and other organisations.

Isle of Wight County Press: Drivers ned to be more wary of horse riders. Photo: Department of TransportDrivers ned to be more wary of horse riders. Photo: Department of Transport

Most people who responded were in favour of all the changes.

While the online version of the Highway Code can be updated immediately, physical copies containing the new rules will not be available until the spring.

Enforcement of the law is a matter for the police, who will decide, on the evidence of each individual case, whether an offence has been committed and the appropriate action to take.

With nearly three-quarters of crashes involving cyclists occuring at junctions, it is hoped the rule changes will deter drivers from overtaking and cutting in, and prevent them running into pedestrians and cyclists crossing side-road junctions.

Isle of Wight County Press: Photo: Department of TransportPhoto: Department of Transport

A DfT spokesperson said: "The Highway Code is essential reading for everyone. It’s updated regularly, so it’s important everyone reads it — not just learner drivers.

"Many of the rules in the code are legal requirements and, if you disobey these rules, you’re committing a criminal offence.

"If you do not follow the other rules in the code, it can be used in evidence in court proceedings to establish liability."

The full updated version of The Highway Code is available, free of charge, on Gov.UK:

Isle of Wight County Press:

You can pre-order an updated version of The Highway Code book online now and buy a copy — with a new and easy to recognise cover design — at most high street bookshops from April.

You can also download The Highway Code iOS app. An Android version is also being developed.

To stay up to date, you can also: sign up to get email alerts when the rules change, follow The Highway Code on Facebook and follow The Highway Code on Twitter.