New driving laws came into effect on 29th January, which aim to give more protection to cyclists and pedestrians. The government hopes that this will decrease the number of cyclist accidents, and improve road safety. With the new guidance, the Government has set out a new “hierarchy of road users”. Therefore, those who are a greater risk to others on the road will have a greater responsibility to keep more vulnerable users safe.
However, recent reports show that two in three UK drivers were unaware of the new changes. This could mean that there is an increase in cyclist accidents and other road accidents.
The New Driving Laws
The new “hierarchy” is included in H1 of the new rules, which looks to ensure a more mutually respectful and considerate culture of safe and effective road use.
Rule H2 focuses on new priority at junctions – meaning motorists, horse riders and cyclists must give way to pedestrians waiting or crossing at a junction.
The final major change, Rule H3, sets out new guidance for drivers and motorcyclists. It advises them to “not cut across cyclists going ahead when turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane”.
Motorists should “stop and wait” for a safe gap in the flow of cyclists if necessary.
Safe passing distances have also been updated to account for the increase in protections of the most vulnerable road users.
Drivers will now need to leave a minimum distance of 1.5 metres when overtaking motorcyclists, cyclists, horse riders and horse drawn vehicles at speeds under 30mph.
When driving over the 30mph threshold, the safe overtaking distance is increased to a minimum of two metres.
A spokesperson for the Department for Transport explained why the changes were being made.
They said: “The proposed upcoming changes to The Highway Code will improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders, with those who present the most risk to other road users given the greatest responsibility in creating a safer travel environment for all.
“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.”
Cyclists lack the same level of protection as car drivers if there’s a collision. They are susceptible to injury if a pothole throws them off their bike. We deal with thousands of cyclist accident claims every year, with injuries ranging from minor lacerations to life-changing impairment. With this in mind, we aim to make your cyclist accident claim as stress-free as possible.
How We Can Help with Cyclist Accidents
Here at The Compensation Experts, we work with solicitors who have years of experience dealing with personal injury claims. This includes cyclist accidents. So contact us today by filling in our contact form. Or call us on 01614138765 to speak to one of our friendly experts.