Some important rules will be added to the Highway Code later this month.
And there is one addition that drivers should be aware of when overtaking.
Rule 163 is about overtaking and it will now be a lot more specific about how to overtake motorbikes, cyclists, horse riders and horse drawn vehicles.
It will now say: “Give motorcyclists, cyclists, horse riders and horse drawn vehicles at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car (see Rules 211 to 215). As a guide:
- “Leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph, and give them more space when overtaking at higher speeds
- “Pass horse riders and horse-drawn vehicles at speeds under 10 mph and allow at least 2 metres space
- “allow at least 2 metres space and keep to a low speed when passing a pedestrian who is walking in the road (e.g. where there is no pavement)
- “Take extra care and give more space when overtaking motorcyclists, cyclists,horse riders, horse drawn vehicles and pedestrians in bad weather (including high winds) and at night
- “You should wait behind the motorcyclist, cyclist, horse rider, horse drawn vehicle or pedestrian and not overtake if it is unsafe or not possible to meet these clearances”
Peter Lorence, a serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said close passing represents a serious danger to most vulnerable road users.
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He said there have been cases of cyclists being clipped by fast moving traffic, resulting in catastrophic injuries, and have also seen those cycling being dragged under the wheels of vehicles that have attempted to pass them, but done so too closely.
“In addition, we have seen cases of horse riders and horses being hit by fast moving traffic, resulting in deaths and serious injury,” he continued. “Due to horses being flight animals that can move incredibly quickly if startled, close passing at speed can also pose dangers to riders and horses, even without an actual collision.”
The change under the signals and position section will advise drivers who has priority in that context.
The new section under rule 186 says road users should give priority to cyclists on roundabouts.
Another change on the Highway Code will advise drivers on the best technique to open a vehicle’s door.
Commonly known as the ‘Dutch Reach’, the technique aims to encourage drivers to look over their shoulder and check for other road users when opening the door.
Another change to the Highway Code this month could see drivers being fined £200.
Drivers who touch their mobile phone could face six points on their licence on top of the fine from January 29.