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

This guide discusses the recent changes to the Highway Code for drivers and what they mean for other road users. The recent amendments seek to place more emphasis on those road users who could cause the most damage or harm to others. With this in mind, a new ‘hierarchy of road users’ has been established that places pedestrians at the top as most vulnerable.

The fundamental aspects of the Highway Code for drivers remain the same. Each road user has the responsibility to show care to others and adhere to the standards of skill and care typical of the average motorist. If another road user failed in this responsibility and you suffered harm as a result, this guide explains what you can do to start a claim.

  • Learn more about how the amendments to the Highway Code for drivers could impact your personal injury claim by calling our team on 0800 408 7825
  • Email us to see how we can assist your search for compensation at Public Interest Lawyers
  • Access immediate free legal advice through the ‘live support’ option below

Highway Code changes

Highway Code for drivers – When can you claim?

Select A Section

  1. The Highway Code For Drivers Creates A Hierarchy Of Road Users
  2. Pedestrians Get More Priority At Junctions
  3. Changes To The Treatment of Cyclists
  4. The Highway Code For Drivers Overtaking
  5. Road Accident Compensation Calculator
  6. Talk To Us About Road Accidents Caused By Highway Code Breaches

The Highway Code For Drivers Creates A Hierarchy Of Road Users

On the 29th of January 2022, the Highway Code for drivers and other road users was revised to include new guidance about how road users should be prioritised. The new rules have created a ‘hierarchy of road users’ that places pedestrians and cyclists at the top in order of vulnerability. As well as this, road procedures at junctions and crossings have been amended.

This guide will lead you through the updates to the Highway Code for drivers and how they specifically apply to pedestrians. The changes are designed to give greater protection to vulnerable categories, but they include some new requirements from all road users as well. We look at how this could impact any claim for personal injury claim you may be considering after being injured by another road user.

The Main Changes in Summary:

  • The updated code clarifies that other traffic should give way to people waiting to cross
  • People who have started crossing have priority over traffic that wants to turn into that road
  • Those driving, riding or cycling must give way to people on a zebra crossing (or those walking or cycling on a parallel crossing)
  • Cyclists are asked not to pass those walking or horse riding at high speed, especially from behind
  • Cyclists are asked to ride in the centre of their lane on quiet roads
  • They are also asked to be more considerate to others
  • They may ride two abreast in large groups for safety
  • Cyclists should take care when passing parked cars, leaving space should car doors open suddenly.
  • Road users are asked to deploy the ‘Dutch Reach’ technique of opening a car door. This action uses the opposing hand to open a car door. In doing so it initiates a series of movements that require the driver to check behind them before they open the door.

In light of these changes, this article will discuss whether compensation claims will be affected. If you choose to work with a personal injury specialist, we explain how a No Win No Fee agreement could enable you to fund their services.

The Whiplash Reform Program

As well as changes to the Highway Code, in May 2021 a new way of claiming soft tissue or whiplash injuries valued at £5,000 or under was introduced. Claims must now be processed through the government-based Official Injury Claim portal OIC). This applies to:

  • People aged 18 or over
  • If the accident happened in England or Wales on or after 31st May 2021
  • You were inside a vehicle and believe the accident was not your fault

Once the claim is submitted through the online portal, OIC will be referred to the insurance company that covered the driver you believe was responsible. The potentially liable party will then make their own investigations to consider your claim, and a medical assessment is required to prove the injuries. There is a ban on pre-medical agreements

Importantly, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcycle riders, sidecar passengers, scooter users and horse riders do not have to use the new OIC portal and can claim compensation in a traditional way.

Please speak to our team to have your injuries assessed and valued.

Pedestrians Get More Priority At Junctions

Rule 8 of the Highway Code has changed slightly in the following way. At junctions, if people are crossing or waiting to cross the road this means that other traffic should give way. Pedestrians should take care to make themselves as visible as possible and cross at a place where they can be clearly seen. Pedestrians now have priority if they have started to cross the road and traffic wants to turn into that road.

Changes To The Treatment of Cyclists

The hierarchy of road users seeks to underline the need for greater safety provision to vulnerable groups. Pedestrians are at the top, with cyclists and motorcyclists, scooter riders and sidecar passengers identified next. Horse riders then follow with cars and heavy goods vehicles (HVG’s) and lorries at the bottom in recognition of their potential to cause the most harm to others.

Rule 170 states at junctions now that motorists should be more vigilant for cyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists including those in motorised wheelchairs or mobility scooters. These people are not always easily seen and may be less aware of the vehicle near them.

Motorists should remain behind cyclists, (horse riders, horse-drawn vehicles and
motorcyclists also) at junctions even if they are waiting to turn and are positioned close to the kerb.

To find out if any of these Highway Code amendments will affect your personal injury claim for a road traffic accident call our advisors today for free legal advice.

Cyclists May Ride In The Centre Of The Lane

Under new rule 79, If you are a cyclist turning right, it is permitted to ride in either left or right-hand lanes with a view to moving left when approaching your exit. Cyclists can place themselves in the middle of their lane if it is safe to do so (see Rule 72). If they decide to pass around using the left-hand lane, they should:

  • Be conscious of the fact that drivers may be unable to see them
  • Should take additional care when cycling past exits
  • Signal right to show they are not leaving the roundabout
  • Be alert to vehicles crossing their path to leave or join the roundabout.

If a roundabout has designated cycle facilities, cyclists should use these areas to make the journey safer and easier. However, they are not obliged to use them. This will depend on individual experience, skills and circumstance.

The Highway Code For Drivers Overtaking

In addition to the changes above, there are variations to the way that drivers should overtake. Rule 163 states that drivers should:

  • Allow motorcyclists, cyclists, horse riders and their vehicles the same amount of room normally given when overtaking a vehicle (see Rules 211 to 215)
  • Leave a space of a minimum of 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists (if driving at speeds up to 30mph) and even more room if overtaking them at higher speeds
  • Pass horse-drawn vehicles and horse riders at speeds under 10 mph, and allow a minimum of 2 metres of space
  • Take additional care and allow more room when overtaking cyclists, horse riders, motorcyclists, equine-drawn vehicles and pedestrians at night and also in bad weather.
  • Drivers should wait behind motorcyclists, cyclists, or horse riders, vehicles that are horse-drawn or pedestrians if it is not safe or not possible to comply with this clearance.

Road Accident Compensation Calculator

If your personal injury claim after a road traffic accident is successful you could be awarded up to two types of damages. General damages will be awarded for the pain, suffering and loss of quality of life caused by your injuries.

If you qualify for special damages you could be reimbursed for all the financial losses you experience because of your injuries through special damages.

You may need to attend an independent medical assessment to review your injuries. A personal injury solicitor can help you with this.

The findings of your medical assessment are compared with injuries and illnesses listed in a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines. This guide helps solicitors to assess personal injuries and provides guideline compensation brackets to reflect pain, suffering and damage to lifestyle after an accident. The chart below gives an example:

Injury TypeSeverityCompensation Bracket
Brain damageLess severe (d)£14,380 to £40,410
Neck injurySevere (a) (ii)£61,710 to £122,860
Back injurySevere (a) (iii)£36,390 to £65,440
Arm injuryLess severe (c)£18,020 to £36,770
Hand injurySerious (e)£27,220 to £58,100
Pelvic injuryModerate (b) (ii)£11,820 to £24,950
Severe Leg InjuriesVery Serious (b) (ii)£51,460 to £85,600
Knee injuryModerate (b) (i)£13,920 to £24,580
Foot injurySevere (d)£39,390 to £65,710
Psychiatric injuryModerate (c)£5,500 to £17,900

Special damages

By using documented proof like receipts, invoices, wage slips and proof of purchase, it can also be possible to establish the financial costs of your injuries. There are also amounts you could request as part of your compensation. Any of the following may apply:

  • Loss of earnings
  • Expensive medical treatments unavailable on the NHS
  • Necessary adaptations to your home or car
  • Domestic help to cook, clean or for personal care
  • Damage to your pension contributions or attendance bonus
  • The costs of travelling to hospital or work
  • Extra child care needs
  • Damage to personal items during the accident

In addition to this, a personal injury specialist can help calculate a realistic figure for projected costs. You can only claim once for your personal injury. So it’s essential to include all predicted expenses to you that may arise in the future.

Talk To Us About Road Accidents Caused By Highway Code Breaches

As you set on your search for compensation, it can help to have expert legal advice. Many people may feel daunted at the prospect of engaging the services of a solicitor and worry about the cost. No Win No Fee agreements can help.

When you work with a personal injury solicitor under these terms you enter into an agreement whereby no fees are due unless your case is successful. This is a maximum deduction of 25%. If your case is not successful, there are no fees to pay your solicitors at all.

No Win No Fee agreements means that you can access excellent legal representation whatever your financial status. We can help connect you with lawyers to help right now when you:

Traffic Accident And Injury Claims – Highway Code for drivers changes

Thank you for reading this guide on how the changes to the Highway Code for drivers and other road users could impact your claim. If you need any other information, please get in touch or use the resources below:

Article by EA

Publisher EC.