Recent updates to the Highway Code have been in the mainstream press a lot recently as they will become effective from 29th January. However, in many cases the editorial has been exceedingly poor and is leading many to think they have now been gifted some new “rights” over others as road users. In most cases the changes are clarifying the language of existing rules about the duty of care that all road users have to each other and particularly those more vulnerable. The Highway Code explains this with the words “None of this detracts from the responsibility of all road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders, to have regard for their own and other road users’ safety.”
The full detail of the changes is here: Highway code updates and cover 8 key areas.
- introducing a new hierarchy of road users
- crossing the road at junctions
- walking, cycling or riding in shared spaces
- positioning in the road when cycling
- overtaking when driving or cycling
- cycling at junctions
- people cycling, riding horses and driving horse-drawn vehicles on roundabouts
- parking, charging and leaving vehicles
Read them and be familiar with them before you are having it explained to you in legal circumstances.
Recently we were discussing with a student the problems of having an attitude of “but it was my right of way”. There is an old rhyme that goes
Here lies the body of Thomas Grey,
Who died defending his right of way.
He was perfectly right as he sped along,
But he’s just as dead as if he’d been wrong.
Look after yourselves with defensive riding rather than the concept of what your rights are.