From January the 29th, new rules have been introduced by the Department of Transport with regards to the Highway Code. The new code is basically affecting cyclists on the road. There are also new penalties to be aware of if the new rules are broken.
Now all cyclists are given the right of way to be in the middle of the road in situations where required. Instead of taking the normal position of being on the left-hand side when approaching junctions and on empty roads. No change in this rule even if there’s a cycling lane, they’re not obliged by law to use it.
The new changes will mainly affect cyclists and pedestrians, giving them more priority on the roads and drivers having to yield whenever the situation arises. However, some critics have voiced concerns about a possible increase in accidents and tensions between cyclists and drivers.
Director of Policy
Part of the new rules states that drivers will now have to leave a gap of at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists. Those who do not follow the new rules will incur much heavier penalties such as £200 fines and up to six points for motorists. With the announcement of the new changes, road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has added to the concerns by saying these changes may cause an upturn in road rage involving cyclists and drivers.Director of Policy
Neil Greig, the Director of policy and research explained to The Times newspaper: “A lot of drivers are going to think that somebody cycling in the middle of the lane in front of them is doing it to deliberately slow them down. That leads to conflict and road rage and inappropriate overtaking. Everybody needs to know all of these changes at the same time for it to work.”
Another part of the changes being made by the Highway Code is how drivers will now use roundabouts and the law will now require those who can cause the greatest harm to others to have an increased level of responsibility to reduce the danger.
Under rule 186 which is an added new section, drivers on the road will need to give priority to cyclists at roundabouts. The new rule states the following: “You should give priority to cyclists on the roundabout. They will be travelling more slowly than motorised traffic.
“Give them plenty of room and do not attempt to overtake them within their lane. Allow them to move across your path as they travel around the roundabout.”
“Cyclists, horse riders, and horse-drawn vehicles may stay in the left-hand lane when they intend to continue across or around the roundabout and should signal right to show you they are not leaving the roundabout. “
“Drivers should take extra care when entering a roundabout to ensure that they do not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse-drawn vehicles in the left-hand lane, who are continuing around the roundabout.”
In all changes, it will be the driver’s responsibility to remain up-to-date with changes to the Highway Code, but in a recent AA survey, only a third of motorists were aware of the amendment.
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