Highway Code rule amendment that gives cyclists priority over motorists could lead to confusion and potentially dangerous situations, warns the AA.

  • Beginning January 29, motorists will be allowed to yield to pedestrians and cyclists at intersections
  • Bicyclists and drivers will need to yield if pedestrians are waiting to cross the roads.
  •  But an AA survey of 13,500 drivers found only a third knew about the changes

Highway Code changes giving cyclists priority over drivers could create ‘confusion and dangerous situations’ because only a third of motorists know about it, the AA has warned.

Subject to approval by Parliament, the overhaul will see motorists be required to yield to pedestrians and cyclists at intersections.

The new system will place greater emphasis on safety and responsibility, with motorists taking more responsibility to reduce the risk to cyclists and pedestrians.

To reduce pedestrian danger, cyclists must also take action.

According to the old code pedestrians had no right of way at intersections if they were not already on the roads.

This MailOnline graphic shows how the Highway Code will change early next year in relation to drivers and cyclists

This MailOnline graphic illustrates how the Highway Code will be changed in early next year with regard to motorists and cyclists.

The overhaul, coming into force on January 29 subject to parliamentary approval, means motorists will have to give way to cyclists and pedestrians at junctions

With the passage of this overhaul (subject to approval by Parliament), motorists will be required to make way for cyclists or pedestrians at junctions.

However, the revised code requires cyclists and motorists to stop pedestrians from crossing roads they are not in.

If a car indicates that it is going to turn left, right or both ways, they will have to yield to bicyclists who are coming from behind. They’ll continue straight ahead and only stop once the cyclists have passed.

An AA survey of 13,500 drivers showed that just a third of them knew the changes.

Similarly, only a fifth were aware that the Code will advise of scenarios where cyclists ‘may sometimes ride in the centre of the lane, rather than towards the side of the road’ and that ‘it can be safer for groups of cyclists to ride two abreast in these situations’.

The AA urges all road users to initiate an education campaign, instead of waiting for regulations to be approved.

Edmund King, President of the AA, said: ‘With such fundamental changes to the Highway Code taking place to make our roads safer, we need to ensure road users understand the new rules ahead of time.

‘Getting the message out now would help avoid dangerous situations and remove any confusion on the roads before the new rules are adopted.’

The RAC’s roads policy chief, Nicholas Lyes, said: ‘A concerted effort must now be made to communicate the changes to drivers because as we know, many do not read the Highway Code for long periods after passing their test.

‘Ultimately, the aim should be to ensure that everyone using the roads understands the new rules, because any confusion is likely to lead to avoidable collisions.’

These changes were presented to parliament as a statute instrument. If no MPs object in 28 days (which expires January 29), they will be implemented.

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.’