This month’s legal update on other road users, for those who manage drivers, comes to us from Mike Hayward and Nathan Taylor-Allkins from Woodfines Solicitors.
Other Road Users
The Highway Code
Before we look briefly at what the Highway Code says about other road users, ask yourself two questions:
When did you pass your driving test?
And, when did you last look at the Highway Code?
If the answers to both are “a long time ago” then this is the article for you. Even if not, keeping up to date with the Highway Code,and importantly, abiding by the rules of the road, is essential in doing your part to keep other road users safe.
So, why is the Highway Code important andwhat does it say about other road users?
In 2022, the Highway Code was updated to include the concept of the‘hierarchy of road users’. This places those road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy. The hierarchy does not remove the need for everyone to behave responsibly. The road users most likely to be injured in the event of a collision are pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists, with children, older adults and disabled people being more at risk.
There were other key updates which targeted trigger events, where vulnerable users are most at risk, such as:-
- people crossing the road at junctions;
- positioning in the road when cycling;
- overtaking when driving or cycling;
- cycling at junctions and on roundabouts;
- parking and leaving vehicles.
Rights of way and who has priority in certain circumstances have been updated and understanding these are vital to ensuring safe driving.
From a legal perspective, whilst the Highway Code is not legally binding per se, many of the rules contained in the Code are legal requirements, and if you disobey these rules you’re potentially committing a criminal offence. It can also have a bearing on possible civil proceedings in relation to establish liability and fault if an accident arises.