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A major rule change in the Highway Code is due to come into effect next month, with the AA warning that road users should get to grips with the new regulations or risk 'confusion' and ‘dangerous situations’.
From 29 January, subject to parliamentary approval, motorists will have to give way to cyclists and pedestrians at junctions and on a parallel crossing under the revised rules.
The changes would also mean both drivers and cyclists would have to give way to pedestrians waiting to cross the road into which or from they are turning.
The rules also include establishing a hierarchy of road users, with the aim of making roads safer for the most vulnerable.
A document published by the Department for Transport says: “The ‘Hierarchy of Road Users’ is a concept that places those road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy.
“The hierarchy does not remove the need for everyone to behave responsibly.
"The road users most likely to be injured in the event of a collision are pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists, with children, older adults and disabled people being more at risk.”
However, after surveying more than 13,000 drivers, the AA found that only a third knew about the changes to the Highway Code rules.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, the motoring association warned that people should get to understand the new rules ahead of time, saying: "Getting the message out now would help avoid dangerous situations and remove any confusion on the roads before the new rules are adopted."
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: "The proposed upcoming changes to The Highway Code will improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders and were widely reported when they were announced earlier this year."
Cycling UK has campaigned for the changes for a decade, with Duncan Dollimore, the charity’s head of campaigns, saying in a statement earlier this month: “These amendments bring not just much needed clarity on key areas of reducing danger on our roads, such as safe overtaking distances of people walking, cycling or horse riding, but also through the new ‘hierarchy of road users’ [which] challenges the current mindset that ‘might is right’ on our roads.
“It enshrines in law the need for those who present the most risk on our roads to look out for those who are the most vulnerable. This can only make the roads safer for everyone.
“Over 16,000 people backed the amendments Cycling UK called for when the government consulted on improving the Highway Code for vulnerable road users in 2020.
“Today we’re seeing many of these a step closer to becoming a reality, and we commend the Department for Transport for listening and making these important changes.”
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