This is the BIGGEST set of changes EVER introduced at one time. It will affect all types of road users forming a new hierarchy and is going to change life on our roads as we know it!
The new Highway Code Rules (29th January 2022) are visible below. Most of what we teach and recommend will not change. For example we have always said to give a car width to a cyclists, this has now been clarified to 1.5m. You should now stop if you see a pedestrian waiting at a Zebra Crossing. The wording here has slightly changed but should not affect how we teach and examiners mark faults. You should still stop if someone is waiting to cross at a Zebra Crossing!
The H2 Rules concerning pedestrians crossing the road at junctions represents the biggest change in what we have to teach. From now on drivers and riders “should” stop if a pedestrian is waiting to cross the road at a junction if the driver or rider is turning from one road to another. At this stage (the wording could change as the paper copy will not be out till April 2022) this indicates that these rules will effect situations at T-Junctions and Side Roads but it could apply at Mini Roundabouts and Roundabouts too as the wording does not say which types of “junction” this refers to. The illustrated example given in the Highway Code shows a major and minor road with cars and pedestrians near the junction. Underneath the picture example it says:
“Rule H2: Wait for the pedestrians to cross the junction before turning. This applies if you are turning right or left into the junction.” This wording and image is given as an example of which it is the only one. This is frustrating!
With that in mind it is our belief that the rules will apply to all types of junction BUT common sense is needed! Slamming on the brakes for a pedestrian waiting as you exit a fast roundabout would not be a sensible idea nor would stopping to let a pedestrian out near a roundabout where there are multiple lanes where other vehicles different lanes might not Give Way.
Drivers and riders will now need to approach junctions where pedestrians are present or potentially present with more caution in general. A common sense approach to these situations is key for example if visibility at the junction is good and no pedestrians are present there would be no need to be on guard ready to stop!
An important thing is to remember not to flash your headlights or beckon other road users in general. This is now even more important with pedestrians who maybe confused as the transition to these new rules takes place. If you do need to communicate with other road users first of all establish eye contact, perhaps nod to acknowledge that you are aware of their presence and as a final resort offer your hand out to say in the universal way you can go first! NEVER wave them or use a gesture that can be interpreted as "go now"!