Drivers will need to give cyclists priority on the roads from next week
A hierarchy of road users is to be introduced
From next week, changes to the Highway Code will come into force that will give pedestrians and cyclists priority on the roads in order to give them greater protection.
The changes, which were confirmed in December last year, will see the introduction of 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."
They will come into force on January 29, with drivers facing £200 fines and six points on their license if they don't adhere to the new rules.
The changes will establish guidance on safe passing distances and speeds when overtaking cyclists or horse riders and ensure they have priority at junctions when travelling straight ahead.
They will also clarify existing rules on pedestrian priority on pavements and reaffirm that drivers and riders should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross the road, according to Road Safety GB.
Drivers will be told to leave a minimum distance of 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists and must give way to pedestrians waiting to cross roads at junctions.
📰 The Government is going ahead with plans to introduce a hierarchy of road users, as part of a series of updates to The Highway Code aimed at improving road safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders.
— Road Safety GB (@Road_Safety_GB) December 3, 2021
However Cycling UK has said it is concerned that not enough is being done to communicate these changes to the public.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK's head of campaigns, said: “Many people won’t have read the Highway Code for years so it’s essential that the key changes are clearly explained, with simple, accurate and memorable messages.
“These changes have legal implications. Just as we saw with the introduction of other road safety measures like mandatory seat belts and stricter drink driving laws, the public needs to be accurately informed about the new rules.
“The hierarchy of responsibility and changes to junction priority need to be explained and communicated properly, regardless of whether or not everyone agrees with them.”
A DfT spokesman said: “The proposed upcoming changes to the Highway Code will improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders and were announced to national press.
“The department has established a working group of key organisations to ensure that messages about the changes are as widespread as possible and our well-established Think! campaign will continue to ensure all road users are aware both when these changes come into effect and beyond.”