Couriers Should Heed New Highway Code Guidance


Will the changes to the Highway Code make that much difference to road users? The answer to that is a resounding yes. There are 8 changes to the code which affect pedestrians, cyclists, car drivers and HGV drivers. Due to the fact that couriers spend the majority of their time on our roads, we feel it is imperative they are aware of what is now expected in their daily work. The fact is it may be a little too late. The changes were made 2 weeks ago on 29th January 2022 but the media only gave these changes a tiny bit of attention.

Why is it Important for Couriers?

It is important for all road users – not just couriers. A sector of these new rules changes the responsibility as to who has right of way on the road. Without the knowledge of these changes, misunderstandings and hence accidents would be more likely. Also, for businesses especially it could place more of an issue with insurance. An accident may take place which calls for an insurance claim. How will insurance company deal with this? Would the claim be accepted if no training had been given on the new guidance?

What is the New Guidance?

  • There is a new hierarchy for road users. This does not take away the responsibility for everyone using the roads, but it does mean that those individuals driving vehicles which could cause the most damage in an accident (i.e., HGV’s) carry the greatest responsibility to ensure they drive safely.
  • Drivers should give way to pedestrians crossing the road or at a junction and must give way to a pedestrian on a Zebra crossing or parallel crossing.
  • Motor drivers should not cut across the path of cyclists, horses or horse-drawn vehicles. Whereas this behaviour before was always courtesy or common sense it is now law.
  • Cyclists should respect the safety of people sharing the spaces where riders travel. This includes pedestrians and horse riders.
  • Cyclists can position themselves in the centre of quiet country roads but on busy roads, or in a built-up area, they should keep at least 0.5 metres away from the kerb. Groups of cyclists can ride 2 abreast but should be aware of the needs of vehicles behind them (i.e., allowing them to pass).

Overtaking Issues

  • Vehicles can go over a double white line in the centre of the road if they need to overtake a cyclist or a horse. They should leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking a cyclist and at least 2 metres when overtaking a horse (and the same for pedestrians).
  • When cyclists approach a junction, they should give way to people who are crossing, or waiting to cross the road. When a cyclist is at a junction intending to go straight ahead, they have right of way over other vehicles (who may be turning left for instance).
  • Drivers of all motor vehicles should give way to cyclists, horses and horse-drawn vehicles, on roundabouts.
  • The Highway Code recommends that drivers use a technique called “Dutch Reach” when leaving the car. This involves using the hand on the opposite side to the one the drivers door is in. By partaking in this process, the driver automatically turns his/her head to look behind them before opening the door. It is hoped this method will be safer as drivers will be more aware of cyclists and other road users on the driver’s side.

Couriers Take Heed

This is all new guidance laid out in the UK Highway Code. Even though some of it appears to focus more on cyclists and horse riders, lack of attention to these changes are likely to cause accidents.

At Same Day Dispatch Services Ltd safety always comes before speed. We offer super-fast delivery services across the UK and the world. For an estimate for your project click here

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June 2024