Changes to the Highway Code

We are stating nothing new when we say that couriers spend most of their working day on the road. Whilst Britain’s roads are among some of the safest in the world, that doesn’t mean that accidents don’t happen, or obstacles and challenges are not presented. As an industry that has its employees on the road more than anyone else, we have a duty to be involved in road safety, aswell as keeping updated with any changes in laws or regulations. This very post will take a look at changes to the highway code and how this will affect couriers and the wider road using community.

The changes came into effect in the week of the 24th January 2022, so they are still fairly new. Did you know this was happening? Probably not, and this has caused something of a controversy because the publication of its new implementation date, along with explanation on changes has been kept largely quiet. Not many people have been aware, as changes have not been widely advertised – this would seem very counter-productive. The important thing to remember about the highway code is it is not a uniform document that is set. It does change from time to time as our habits, technology and patterns of behaviour alter.

One of the biggest changes is thought to be around a level of ‘hierarchy’ which has been created around road users. Now, road users will be given priority and the most vulnerable will have the most priority going down a ladder all the way to the least. The order begins with pedestrians as most vulnerable, then proceeds through cyclists, horse riders, motor bike users, cars, vans and lorries (in that specific order.) The aim is to think about road users in a top-down way. By that it is meant that as lorry drivers could cause the most damage or impact on the roads, what can they do to protect van drivers (and increasingly, other road users going down that scale, but raising the level responsibility a bit further at each point.)

In practice, what this now means is pedestrians and cyclists will have more right of way over cars / van / lorries than they did before, rather than just at pedestrian crossings or cycle lanes as it was originally. Critics have urged for a rethink on this, because the lack of publicity or clarification could lead to even more dangerous situations occurring, than these new rules were meant to mitigate against.

Another big change to note is the right of way pedestrians have when crossing a road as a vehicle turns from a main road into a side road. Now it is the vehicles job to stop (even a cyclist in this situation,) to wait for the pedestrian to cross. As expected, there is mixed reaction about this change too. Some feel pedestrians should be the ultimate priority in all situations, while others argue that it will lead to pedestrians taking more risks, ultimately putting themselves at greater danger.

Rock Solid Deliveries are responsible same day couriers who offer a range of delivery services. We support changes and enhancements that make our roads a better and safer place for all users. We regularly explain the importance of safe driving to our employees and have communicated these recent changes to the highway code to them.

We ultimately think that as long as couriers continue to be responsible when driving on the roads, this is the best that they or anyone else can reasonably do.

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