Who Gets Priority Under The New Highway Code Rules?

By Daniel Janeway. Last Updated 22nd March 2023. Welcome to our guide on the new Highway Code rules. This article explains the recent changes to The Highway Code on the 29th of January, 2022. 

Prior to these recent changes, all road users had an equal duty of care towards each other. However, this has changed due to the introduction of the new hierarchy of road users. Now, while all road users still have a responsibility to keep one another safe, this responsibility is greater in those road users who are at the greatest risk of causing harm. 

New highway code rules

New highway code rules guide

Some of these changes also clarify or change the party that has the right of way in certain situations. This could influence how some road traffic accident claims are made.

If a road user does not adhere to these changes, they could cause an accident which could cause you injury. As a result, you could potentially claim compensation.

Get in touch with our advisors for free legal advice about starting a road traffic accident claim. They could pass you on to a solicitor from our panel if they feel you have a good chance of success. 

Select A Section

  1. What Are The New Highway Code Rules?
  2. What Is The Hierarchy Of Road Users In The New Highway Code Rules?
  3. Who Gets Priority At Junctions And Roundabouts?
  4. Who Gets Priority In Shared Spaces?
  5. Road Positioning Priority Under The New Highway Code Rules
  6. How Are Injury Claims Calculated?
  7. Talk To Us About Road Traffic Accident Claims
  8. Check The New Highway Code Rules

What Are The New Highway Code Rules?

The new Highway Code rules in the UK relate largely to keeping more vulnerable road users safe. More specifically, it discusses pedestrians, cyclists and horse-drawn vehicles. This is because they have less protection than those travelling in a vehicle.

For example, in the Highway Code, the roundabout rules have been updated to inform motorists that they should not try to overtake a cyclist in their lane. Additionally, cyclists now have the freedom to travel across the path of motorists as they travel around the roundabout.

You can find out more about the new rules on the government website.

What Is The Hierarchy Of Road Users In The New Highway Code Rules?

As aforementioned, there is a new hierarchy of road users in the new Highway Code rules. This hierarchy prioritises the road safety of what the government considers to be groups of vulnerable road users.

The hierarchy goes as follows:

As you can see, pedestrians are now at the top of the road user hierarchy, followed by cyclists and horse riders. This is because these road users do not have the same protection that cars, vans or HGVs offer. In the event of a collision, they are more likely to come to serious harm.

However, despite the new hierarchy, pedestrians still need to take care to behave responsibly on the roads and reduce the risk of accidents. 

Who Gets Priority At Junctions And Roundabouts?

The new Highway Code rules address who gets priority at junctions and roundabouts. This is specifically discussed in Rule H2 and Rule H3. This rule applies to drivers, motorcyclists, horse-drawn vehicles, horse riders and cyclists. 

New Highway Code For Pedestrians

The new highway code rules introduce a hierarchy of road users according to which road user types should be treated with the most care.

At junctions, all other road users must give way to pedestrians who are either crossing or waiting to cross. Additionally, under the new highway code, pedestrians are granted a similar right of way at parallel crossings – which are similar to zebra crossings but with a cycling route in place.

The new changes are in place to prioritise the protection and safety of the most vulnerable road user group.

When Cyclists Approach Junctions

If a cyclist is approaching a junction, drivers or motorcyclists should not cut across them, just as they should not turn into the path of another vehicle. This is the case whether the cyclist is in the cycle lane, a cycle track, or riding on the road. 

You should not turn at a junction if it would cause a cyclist, horse rider or horse-drawn vehicle to swerve or stop. You may need to stop and wait for a safe gap in the flow of cyclists.

Who Has Priority At Roundabouts?

When entering, exiting or travelling around a roundabout, cyclists have priority. You should also stop for a safe gap if necessary when cyclists are travelling around a roundabout. 

These new Highway Code rules aim to protect the most vulnerable road users from injury. However, accidents causing harm could still occur. If you’ve been injured as the result of another road user’s negligence, you may be able to claim. Speak to our advisors today for free legal advice.

Who Gets Priority In Shared Spaces?

One of the new rules addresses who gets priority in shared spaces on the roads. This rule dictates that cyclists, horse riders and drivers of a horse-drawn vehicle should respect the safety of pedestrians in shared spaces. However, this does not eliminate the need for pedestrians to take care not to endanger or obstruct them. 

Cyclists should:

  • Not pass by people walking, riding a horse or driving a horse-drawn vehicle, especially from behind
  • Remember that pedestrians may be blind, partially sighted or deaf
  • Not pass a horse on the horse’s left
  • Slow down if necessary and alert other road users of their presence

Get in touch with our team today to find out more about shared spaces in the new Highway Code rules. 

Road Positioning Priority Under The New Highway Code Rules

The new Highway Code rules also include updated guidance on road positioning for cyclists. The updated guidelines mean cyclists should:

  • Ride in the centre of their lane on quiet roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions or road narrowings
  • Keep at least 0.5 metres away from the edge of the kerb (further if it is safe to do so) when riding on a busy road or with faster vehicles

If people are cycling in groups, they should consider the needs of other road users. They may ride two abreast if it is safer to do so, such as when accompanying children or riders with less experience

All cyclists should be aware of those driving behind them and should allow them to overtake when it is safe to do so. They should also be careful when passing parked vehicles, leaving enough room to avoid being hit if someone opens a car door. 

How Are Injury Claims Calculated?

Generally, the compensation awarded in personal injury claims can be made up of general and special damages. General damages compensate you for the pain and suffering that your injuries have caused. This pain and suffering could  The table of figures in this section show what you could potentially receive in general damages in a road traffic accident claim. 

These figures are taken from the Judicial College Guidelines. Legal professionals use this document to help value general damages. As part of your claim, you will be invited to a medical appointment with an independent expert. The report from this assessment will be used to value your claim. 

Injury Severity Amount Notes
Death Full Awareness £12,540 to £23,810 Lung damage and severe burns. There will be full awareness for a short period, then consciousness will fluctuate for 4-5 weeks. Death will occur between a few weeks and 3 months.
Achilles Tendon Minor £7,270 to £12,590 A turning of the ankle that results in some damage to the tendon. Ankle support may be unsure.
Hernia (a) £14,900 to £24,170 Continuous pain with a related limitation on physical activities after repair.
Leg Amputation (iii) £104,830 to £137,470 Above the knee amputation of one leg.
Hand (a) £140,660 to £201,490 Total or effective loss of both hands. The hands will be little more than useless.
Elbow Moderate or Minor Up to £12,590 Most elbow injuries will fit here. This could include simple fractures, lacerations or tennis elbow. Injuries that do not cause permanent damage or impairment of function.
Chest (D) £12,590 to £17,960 Relatively simple injury causing some permanent damage to tissue but with no significant long-term effects on lung function.
Head/Brain Minor £2,210 to £12,770 Any brain damage will be minimal.
Knee Moderate (ii) Up to £13,740 Could be a less severe torn cartilage or dislocation, lacerations, bruising or twisting injuries. There may be aching, occasional pain and discomfort.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Less Severe £3,950 to £8,180 A virtual full recovery will have been made within 1-2 years. Only minor symptoms will persist longer than this.

Special damages compensate you for specific financial losses that you may have experienced as a result of your injuries. You could also claim compensation for financial losses you could suffer in the future, such as a loss of earnings if you need to take time off work. You could also claim for a future loss of earnings if your injuries stop you from returning to work at all. 

Some examples of costs you could claim back in special damages include:

  • Medical treatments not covered by the NHS
  • Travel costs
  • Adaptions to the home
  • Independence supports (i.e. walking stick, hearing aids etc.)
  • Property damage

To prove that your losses directly resulted from your accident or injury, you could provide payslips, receipts, bank statements, or invoices. Without evidence, you may find it difficult to claim back the full value of the special damages you’re entitled to. 

To find out more about what you could claim, get in touch with our team of advisors today. If you have a valid case, you could be connected with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel. 

Talk To Us About Road Traffic Accident Claims

If someone fails to adhere to the new Highway Code rules, they could cause an accident and harm a more vulnerable road user. If this has happened to you, you could potentially claim compensation. You don’t need a solicitor to make a road traffic accident claim, but it could make the process easier than it otherwise would be. 

The solicitors on our panel offer their services on a No Win No Fee basis. This is a way to fund the work of a solicitor that may entail less financial risk than doing so in the traditional way. In this type of agreement, you only need to pay your solicitor if you receive compensation. There will be no upfront or ongoing payments throughout your case. 

Your solicitor will deduct a success fee from your payout amount before it is paid to you, so you don’t even have to worry about doing it yourself. You also don’t need to worry about your solicitor overcharging you, as this success fee is subject to a legal cap. 

To find out more about No Win No Fee and how it could benefit you, why not get in touch with our team of advisors today? They can offer you free legal guidance, with no obligation to start a claim with us. If you do want to start a claim, they could pass you on to a solicitor from our panel. The solicitors from our panel are experienced with all types of claims and could help you claim compensation. 

Check The New Highway Code Rules

Thank you for reading our guide on the new Highway Code rules. We hope it answered any questions you may have had. Please see below for further relevant resources. 

Serious Injury Solicitors – If you’ve suffered a serious injury in an accident, learn how you could claim compensation. 

Motorcycle Accident Claims – If someone has harmed you in a motorcycle accident, you could potentially claim a payout for your injuries. 

Payout for a Head Injury in a Car Accident – Have you suffered a head injury in a car accident? Learn how much you could claim here. 

Reported Road Casualties Annual Report, 2020 – The Department for Transport’s 2020 statistics on road casualties. 

Road Traffic Act 1988 – This legislation details what a road offence is. 

THINK! – The government’s official road safety campaign. 

Thank you for reading our guide about the new Highway Code rules. 

Guide by OA

Publisher ET