Changes to the highway code – what they mean for motorcyclists and claims
Earlier this year, changes were made to the Highway Code. If you missed the announcement, don’t worry, you’re by no means the only one. In a survey by YouGov, nearly half (49%) of those asked said they hadn’t heard much about the changes or hadn’t heard anything at all.
So, for anyone that missed the announcement or only have a hazy idea of what those changes are, here’s how they affect motorcyclists on the road, and what the implications are for insurance claims.
Why was the Highway Code changed?
The Highway Code has been reworked to promote a ‘hierarchy of road users’. This essentially places the most vulnerable road users at the top with the rules designed to keep them as safe as possible. The new hierarchy looks like this:
- Horse riders
- Cars and taxis
- Vans and small buses
- Large goods and passenger vehicles
The Highway Code also highlights that children, older adults and anyone with a disability are also at greater risk of injury.
Crucially, the Highway Code makes it clear that all road users (including the most vulnerable) should behave responsibly.
What Highway Code changes affect motorcyclists?
The good news is that while there are several changes, most of them concentrate on reinforcing the hierarchy and apply to all road users.
While the updates below are the main amendments for motorcyclists on their bikes, there are several changes to the Highway Code so it’s worth reading up on all of them. Not only will that mean you’re more clued up over what’s expected of all road users, you’ll get a better understanding of what your own rights are while you’re riding.
To help you navigate these changes, the government has published a table summarising them all (which are also highlighted for ease).
Rule H2 (for drivers, motorcyclists, horse drawn vehicles, horse riders and cyclists)
This specifies that you should give way to pedestrians who are crossing or are waiting to cross a road you’re either turning into, or out of. There’s also a reminder that if pedestrians are actually on a zebra crossing, then you must stop and give them right of way.
Rule H3 (for drivers and motorcyclists)
If you’re in a vehicle or on your motorbike, you should not cut across horse riders (or horse drawn vehicles) going ahead when you are:
- Turning into a junction
- Coming out of a junction
- Changing direction or lanes
Fundamentally, this rule is to make sure you’re not causing vulnerable road users to stop or swerve (and potentially endangering them further).
Rule 125 (for all drivers and riders)
This rule is a reminder that speed limits are the maximum you can drive or ride at, they are not targets. You also shouldn’t assume that a speed limit is ‘safe’ regardless of weather or road conditions.
Rule 140 (for all drivers and riders)
You must not drive, ride or park in a cycle lane which is marked out by a single, solid white line while it’s within operating hours.
How do the Highway Code changes affect my claim?
Not every rule in the Highway Code is a legal requirement but there is the expectation that all road users should follow it to cut the risk of accidents happening. Needless to say, this can make it confusing as you try to work out what you have to do by law.
If the Highway Code says you must or must not do something, then this is your legal obligation. These rules will usually be followed by a note that tells you which offence it relates to.
Everything else and any rules that specify you should or should not do something are advisory. This means they aren’t laws but not following the advice can be used as evidence if you have an accident and are taken to court.
The Highway Code are legal requirements, and if you disobey these rules you are committing a criminal offence. You may be fined, given penalty points on your licence or be disqualified from driving. In the most serious cases you may be sent to prison.
Search for motorbike insurance for your peace of mind
Even if everyone followed the Highway Code to the letter, accidents can still happen, which is why it’s important to make sure you’ve got motorbike insurance you can rely on. For cover that suits you and your budget, compare great deals right here, at MCN Compare.
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Cars and taxis
Vans and small buses
Large goods and passenger vehicles… The way I see it as a motorcyclist is that the following groups should give way to us.
Cars and taxis
Vans and small buses
Large goods and passenger vehicles
This is most definitely not happening. I have found that a fair amount of car drivers move over slightly to the right when they think you might be about to overtake to prevent you from overtaking. I think car drivers have got worse since the rule change.