A Driving Instructor's Blog

The new Highway Code hierarchyFrom 29 January 2022, new changes to the Highway Code (HC) come into effect.

The new hierarchy for road users is as shown in the graphic above. Pedestrians first, then cyclists, then motorcyclists, then cars and vans, and finally lorries. This is based on who is likely to get the most damaged if any one of the other things hits them. And at this stage – as long as you don’t apply any reality to the situation – it makes perfect sense. Well, apart from the fact they left horses off the graphic, but more on that later.

However, the instant you do apply reality, you can see potential issues.

You see, the top three in the hierarchy consists of the vast majority of the population, who either aren’t aware that the HC exists, or who treat it as advisory even they do. And to make matters worse, the first and second groups in the hierarchy will become acutely aware of these changes thanks to the media, and a significant proportion of those will therefore push it to the limits.

Look at this example of something that happened to me while I was driving to a lesson a couple of weeks ago.

If that road was 30mph (or if he’d have done that in front of one of his neighbours in their Audis or low-slung Corsas who don’t recognise speed limits in the first place) he’d be in intensive care right now, or worse, But this is what cyclists do! And he got a mouthful from me out of the window.The new Highway Code rules

You see, the HC is changing like this. Whereas before, a pedestrian crossing the road at a junction was supposed to make sure it was safe and give way to anything turning in, now it is the pedestrian – one of those least likely to be aware of the Highway Code – who can just walk out regardless and it will be the driver/rider of the vehicle who is supposed to give way. And the hierarchy gives the same precedence to cyclists. I mean, we never see them jump on a pavement to skip lights and ride across a junction, do we?

Imagine the twat in the video above coming round a corner and colliding with a pedestrian being equally twattish by by just stepping out. In Broxtowe, Aspley, and Strelley (among others all over the country) it is deeply embedded in the single helix of their DNA to behave like that.

I’m just dying to see how that will be resolved, since the cyclist would have no insurance, and unless he hangs around – which he’s unlikely to do if he’s maimed someone and knows he was being a prat – there is little chance of finding him. Christ, the police can’t even find the boy racers and illegal off-road bikers in Strelley most of the time, so cyclists are well out of the mix on that one.

A lot of rear-end collisions occur when cars stop suddenly and the driver behind isn’t paying attention. Let’s be under no illusions here: drivers of cars, vans, and lorries can be as afflicted with stupidity as much as cyclists and pedestrians are. However, drivers tend to be more aware of the fact that if they hit one of the specimens of those other groups, they will damage them quite badly. But imagine driving into a junction as some prat walks (or rides) in front of you. The possibilities are endless, for hitting the pedestrian/cyclist, or having some imbecile ram into you if you stop suddenly.

This is a stupid change. Roads were built for traffic, and yet precedence is now given to pedestrians and Spandex fetishists with serious attitude problems, all because of the Green Agenda.

Oh, and horses. I have no problem with horse riders, since they almost invariably do not have attitude problems (those that do are in a small minority). I’m careful with them, and they want to be careful with me, and in all honesty, if they were first on that hierarchy I’d give it my full support. However, the number of cyclists with behavioural issues is close to 100% (though close to 100% of them don’t realise it). Virtually none of them care about anyone except themselves, and they should not be given this bone on which to gnaw.

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