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New rules for road users

New rules for road users

Friday 28 January 2022

New rules for road users

Friday 28 January 2022

Changes to the UK Highway Code designed to assist pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders will apply in Guernsey from Saturday.

Cyclists are told that whenever possible they should ride in the middle of their lane and even when in heavy traffic they should still ride at least half a metre away from the edge of the kerb.

Drivers are told they should always leave at least 1.5 metres between their cars and cyclists when overtaking at any speed. 

And a new 'hierarchy of road users' gives cyclists priority over vehicle drivers and gives pedestrians right of way at junctions.

Environment & Infrastructure Committee

Pictured: The States' Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure is welcoming the changes to the Highway Code which take effect from tomorrow. 

"These changes to the UK Highway Code are very much in keeping with the States' aim to make everyone feel safer on the island’s roads and share the values and vision of the on-island integrated transport strategy," said the Committee.

"In many cases, the changes will already have been adopted by people driving cars or riding motorbikes, bikes and horses as good practice and common sense, but the inclusion of these changes within the Highway Code will ensure that these practices are understood and adopted by all road users.

"The Highway Code for Guernsey comprises the Official Highway Code issued by the Department for Transport for England and Wales (the UK Highway Code) and the Guernsey Code issued by the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure. Where material differences exist between the UK Highway Code and Guernsey Law, these are identified in the Guernsey Code with this Code taking precedence when using Guernsey’s roads.

"Therefore, as soon as the revised UK Highway Code comes into effect on Saturday 29 January, it is automatically incorporated into the Guernsey Code.

"The new UK Highway Code will be published on the Department for Transport website on the day that the changes come into force and a booklet form will be published in April. Copies will be available to purchase on island."

Electric Bike

Pictured: Electric bikes are contributing to the increasing popularity of cycling on the island's roads. 

Express outlines some of the key features of the new code…

‘The Hierarchy of Road Users’

H1 - The Hierarchy

The underlying principle and first rule of the new code is a hierarchy which puts “road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top".

It classifies those most at risk as pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists with children, older adults and disabled people being more at risk.

It says those in charge of vehicles “that can cause the greatest harm” bear the greatest responsibility for danger to others. In particular, it mentions drivers of large goods and passenger vehicles, vans, minibuses, cars, taxis and motorcycles. 

H2 - Vehicles must give way to pedestrians crossing at a junction

Drivers, motorcyclists, horse drawn vehicles, horse riders and cyclists must give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross at a junction. 

Cyclists should also give way to pedestrians on shared-use cycle tracks.

H3 - Cyclists and horses have priority at junctions

Drivers should not cut across “cyclists, horse riders or horse-drawn vehicles going ahead when [they] are turning into or out of a junction or changing direction of lane, just as [they] would not turn across the path of another motor vehicle” or if it looks like it will make them swerve.

Instead, they should wait for a safe gap, if necessary, at times such as when cyclists are:

  • approaching, passing or moving off from a junction;
  • moving past or waiting alongside stationary or slow-moving traffic; or
  • travelling around a roundabout.


Pictured: Changes to the Highway Code effective from today also provide greater protection for horse riders using the roads.

Other rules and updates

Cyclists should ride in the centre of their lane to make themselves as clearly visible as possible, when:

  • on quiet roads or streets - if a vehicle comes up behind, they should move to the left of them to enable them to overtake if they can do so safely;
  • in slower moving traffic - when the traffic around starts to flow more freely, cyclists should move over to the left if they can do so safely so that faster vehicles can overtake; and
  • at the approach to junctions or where the road narrows and where it would be unsafe for the driver to overtake.

When riding on busy roads, with vehicles moving faster than them, cyclists should allow them to overtake where it is safe to do so whilst keeping at least 0.5 metres away - and further when safer - from the kerb edge.

Road users are advised of the following updates:

  • when sharing space with them, cyclists should not pass pedestrians, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles closely or at high speed, particularly from behind, or a horse from its left;
  • if a cyclist is going straight ahead at a junction, they have priority over those turning in or out of the side of the road, unless road signs or makings indicate otherwise;
  • drivers should leave at least 1.5 metres of space when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph;
  • drivers should pass horse riders and horse-drawn vehicles at speeds under 10mph and allow at least two metres of space;
  • cyclists will now be allowed to cycle two abreast on the road with the advice to go into single file to let drivers behind overtake when it is safe to do so; and
  • where possible, drivers should open the door using the ‘Dutch method,’ meaning to open the door using your hand on the opposite side to the door you are opening - this will make drivers turn their head to look over their shoulder.

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