Three major Highway Code changes coming to Scotland at the end of this month

By Sophie Buchan

Police Scotland have issued a warning to motorists, pedestrians and cyclists ahead of a change to the Highway Code at the end of this month.

The new rules changes come into force on January 29 2022 - one of which means that pedestrians will now be given priority over cars at junctions.

In total there will be three rules changes and these will mean that:

  • Cyclists have priority over cars when cars turning
  • Pedestrians have priority over cars at junctions
  • Changes to cyclist positioning to ensure better visibility

The rules will be put in place in a bid to help cyclists become more visible to others on the road. It will also allow people to cross a busy junction before drivers turn.

The changes will come into force at the end of the month. (Police Scotland.)

The rules people will now want to look at are H1, H2 and H3 - but what do these mean?

What does 'Rule H1' mean?

According to CarWow, the first rule now puts more responsibility on the drivers of larger vehicles to look after more vulnerable road users.

The proposal states:

‘Those in charge of vehicles that can cause the greatest harm in the event of a collision bear the greatest responsibility to take care and reduce the danger they pose to others.

‘This principle applies most strongly to drivers of large goods and passenger vehicles, vans/minibuses, cars/taxis and motorcycles.”

Rule H1 also says that cyclists and horse riders have a responsibility to look after pedestrians. It also stresses that all road users have responsibility to ensure their own safety, as well as that of others.

What does 'Rule H2' mean?

Rule H2 is for drivers, motorbike riders, horse riders and cyclists. It states: ‘At a junction you should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from which you are turning.’

Essentially this means if you are turning into a road and there’s a pedestrian waiting to cross, you should give way to them. Cyclists also have to give way to pedestrians on shared use cycle tracks.

What does 'Rule H3' mean?

This next update is aimed at drivers and motorcyclists. It states that ‘You should not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles going ahead when you are turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane.’

You shouldn't turn at a junction if doing so would cause a cyclist or horse rider to stop or swerve. Instead, you’re advised to wait for a safe gap before turning in.


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