Changes To The Highway Code For Motorcyclists – When Could You Claim?

This guide will address some of the changes to the Highway Code for motorcyclists. As of 29th January 2022, the Highway Code has been updated. This is a set of rules, laws and guidelines that set out how road users should act on the road. 

changes to Highway Code for motorcyclists guide

Changes to Highway Code for motorcyclists guide

These changes in the Highway Code could have an impact on personal injury claims. This is because they can affect how liability is determined.

In this guide, we will discuss some of these changes. Furthermore, we’ll look at how compensation claims are valued. Additionally, we will look at the benefits that a No Win No Fee agreement can offer.

Our advisors are available to offer you free legal advice. If you have a valid claim, you could be connected with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel. You can get in touch using the details below:

Select A Section

  1. What Are The Changes To The Highway Code For Motorcyclists?
  2. Is The Highway Code For Motorcyclists Mandatory Or Advisory?
  3. Changes To The Highway Code For Motorcyclists At Junctions And Overtaking 
  4. Vehicle Occupants Should Observe The Dutch Reach Method To Exit Vehicles
  5. Calculating Motorcyclist Accident And Injury Claims
  6. Contact Us To Start Motorcyclist Injury Claims

What Are The Changes To The Highway Code For Motorcyclists?

As we have already mentioned, the Highway Code is a publication that includes guidance and rules on proper conduct on the road. All road users have a duty of care to one another and should act with the level of attention and care as the average motorist. There aren’t any allowances made for new or inexperienced drivers.

One of the main changes in the Highway Code update is the introduction of the hierarchy of road users. Previously to this update, the duty of care of all road users was equal.

Now, however, those who have the greatest potential to cause harm have the greatest responsibility toward those who are at the greatest risk of harm. This means that, for example, the duty of care that an HGV driver owes a pedestrian is greater than the duty of care that a cyclist owes a pedestrian. There are also changes relating to priority at junctions and exiting vehicles, which we will look at in greater detail later on in this guide.

The Whiplash Reform Programme

The Whiplash Reform Programme has introduced a change to the way that low-value personal injury claims are made. Because of these changes, road traffic accident (RTA) claims where the injuries are worth less than £5,000 need to be made through an online portal.

However, it’s important to note that motorcyclists, as well as their sidecar and pillion passengers, are exempt from these regulations. This means that if you’re a motorcycle driver or a passenger and are injured in an RTA, you do not need to make your claim through the online portal.

Is The Highway Code For Motorcyclists Mandatory Or Advisory?

The Highway Code contains a wide range of rules, regulations and guidelines. Some of these only apply to certain road users, while others apply to road users as a whole.

The way that the rules in the Highway Code are worded will give you an indication as to whether a certain action is advisory or mandatory. Some rules use the word “should” or “could”, such as Rule 86 which says “You could wear a light or brightly coloured helmet and fluorescent clothing or strips.”.

On the other hand, some rules use the phrases “must” or “must not. For example, Rule 83 states “helmets MUST comply with the Regulations and they MUST be fastened securely.”

However, it’s important to note that while these advisory rules might not be compulsory, they could be used to determine liability in motorcycle accident claims.

For more information on the changes to the Highway Code for motorcyclists, speak with one of our advisors today.

Changes To The Highway Code For Motorcyclists At Junctions And Overtaking 

As well as general changes to the Highway Code in relation to the duty of care, there have been some specific changes made in relation to which road users have priority in certain situations.

Changes To Highway Code Rules On Overtaking

The recent changes to the Highway Code have included rules related to overtaking more vulnerable road users like cyclists or horseriders.

The Highway Code now states that drivers and motorcyclists should:

  • Leave a space of at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mp. If you’re travelling faster than this, you should leave a larger gap.
  • Leave a space of at least 2 metres when overtaking horseback riders or horsedrawn vehicles, and only pass at speeds under 109mph.
  • Allow at least 2 metres of space when passing pedestrians who may need to walk on the road because there’s no pavement. You should also pass them at a low speed.

Changes To Highway Code Rules For Motorcyclists At Junctions

At junctions, motorcyclists:

  • Should give way to people crossing or waiting to cross at a junction
  • Should give way to those crossing a junction that they want to turn into
  • Must give way to those on zebra crossings and parallel crossing

For more information on how these changes to the Highway Code for motorcyclists could affect your ability to claim, speak with an advisor today.

Vehicle Occupants Should Observe The Dutch Reach Method To Exit Vehicles

The Highway Code now recommends a technique called the “Dutch Reach” method. While those riding motorcycles will not be able to implement this technique as their vehicles don’t have doors, this method being adopted could be advantageous to motorcyclists on the road as a whole.

The Dutch Reach involves the driver or passenger of a car using the hand furthest away from the door to open it. For example, the left hand is used to open a right-hand side door.

This technique means that the driver or passenger is forced to look behind them before opening the door. This could mean that a car dooring accident with a pedestrian, a cyclist or a motorcycle accident involving a car door may be avoided.

If you’d like more information on how changes to the Highway Code for motorcyclists could impact your ability to claim, get in touch today.

Calculating Motorcyclist Accident And Injury Claims

When you make a claim for a motorcycle accident caused by another road user’s negligence, your settlement could be made up of two heads of claim. The first of these is general damages which compensate you for the pain and suffering your injuries have caused you. Special damages compensate you for the financial impact of your injuries. 

You may be invited to a medical appointment as part of your claim. Here, an independent medical expert will assess your injuries and create a report, which will be used to value your claim. 

To calculate the general damages head of your claim, your solicitor would use this medical report with the help of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to help value your claim. The JCG is a publication that lists guideline compensation brackets for a range of injuries; we have detailed some of these below. 

Injury Addition Details Amount
Head InjuriesModerate Brain Damage -(i) Cases in which there is a personality change, sight is affected, senses and speech with a risk of epilepsy and no employment prospects.£140,870 to £205,580
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder(c) Moderate, where injury is largely recovered and any effects that do persist are not very disabling.£7,680 to £21,730
Chest Injuries(b) Injury to chest, lungs or heart causing permanent damage of function and physical disability.£61,710 to £94,470
Eye Injuries
(a) Total blindness and deafness. Considered among the most devastating injuries. In the region of £379,100
(H) Kidney(c) Loss of one kidney where the other is not damaged£28,880 to £42,110
(I) Bowels(b) Where natural function is totally lost. Up to £140,870
(J) Bladder(b) Where function and control are completely lostUp to £132,040
(K) Spleen(a) Risk of infection and disorders internally due to damage in the immune system caused by losing the spleen£19,510 to £24,680
(D) Injuries to the Pelvis and Hips(b) Moderate (i) Injury to the hip or pelvis that doesn't lead to ongoing disability£24,950 to £36,770
(A) Neck InjuriesNeck injuries resulting in little or no movement. In the region of £139,210

Special damages could include:

  • Any loss of earnings, both past and future 
  • Cost of travel to and from medical appointments 
  • Care costs if you were unable to care for yourself

For more information on how much your claim could be worth, or for more information on claiming in light of the changes to the Highway Code for motorcyclists, speak with an advisor today. If you have a valid claim, you could be connected with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel.

Contact Us To Start Motorcyclist Injury Claims 

We hope this guide has answered the questions you have about changes to the Highway Code for motorcyclists. If you have a valid claim, you would benefit from working with a solicitor. Their legal knowledge and expertise could help you in the claims process.

However, you might be worried about the cost of hiring a solicitor to work on your claim. If this is the case, you may benefit from a No Win No Fee agreement.

This kind of agreement means that you won’t be asked to pay anything to your solicitor in the event that your claim is unsuccessful, and there is nothing to pay upfront or throughout the claims process.

If you are awarded compensation, then your solicitor will take a success fee from your claim. This is a percentage of your settlement and is subject to a legal cap, ensuring you take home the majority of the money you’re awarded.

For free legal advice on how to claim or to see if you could be connected with a solicitor from our panel today, you can:

Helpful links 

Whiplash Reform Programme: Information and FAQ

Estimates of reported road casualties in Great Britain, year ending June 2021

Whiplash Reform Programme: Information and FAQ

An explanation of No Win No Fee solicitors 

A useful link to guidance on public transport accidents

Compensation for brain damage caused by a car accident

For further information on changes to the the Highway Code for motorcyclists changes, speak with our team today.

Article by AA

Publisher ET