How the UK’s new Highway Code changes affect E Cyclists and E-Bikes?

A revised Highway Code for the UK’s roads came into force on the 29th of January that now gives cyclists clear priority over drivers. This new set of rules has been put in place to enhance safety for all road users – particularly those most at risk. This comes in the form of a new hierarchy of road-users ensuring quicker or heavier modes of travel have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others on the road.

New highway code diagram

What does this mean for me and my e-bike?

The rule changes apply to both regular cyclists and those on e-bikes. We have broken down all the new rules and changes for you below. 

new rule changes on the highway code diagram
  • Probably the biggest change is that if a driver is turning at a junction and there’s a cyclist, horse-rider, pedestrian, or scooter, ready or preparing to cross, these more vulnerable road users have right of way.
  • Cyclists should give way to pedestrians on shared-use cycle tracks and horse riders on bridleways.
  • Pedestrians may use any part of the road and use cycle tracks as well as the pavement unless there are signs prohibiting pedestrians.
  • Drivers should not cut across cyclists or E-Cyclists going ahead when you are turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane, just as you would not turn across the path of another motor vehicle (see diagram). This applies whether the cyclists are using a cycle lane, a cycle track, or riding ahead on the road and you should give way to them.
  • Drivers should stop and wait for a safe gap in the flow of cyclists if necessary. This includes when cyclists are:
    • approaching, passing or moving off from a junction
    • moving past or waiting alongside stationary or slow-moving traffic
    • travelling around a roundabout
  • Cyclists can ride where they feel most visible: To date, cyclists have only been mandated to ride on the left (i.e. not against the flow of traffic) and ensure bike lights are used at night. Now: Cyclists are required to ride no less than half a metre from the verge or kerb, 'further where it is safer'. Motorists must pass cyclists with at least 1.5 metres space up to 30mph; more distance is required for higher speeds. Cyclists are expected to pull to the left on quieter roads, in slower-moving traffic and at busy junctions, to maximise safer overtaking opportunities.
  • Cyclists can now ride 2 abreast - and it can be safer to do so, particularly in larger groups or when accompanying children or less experienced riders. 
  • Cyclists, horse-riders and motorists are legally required to stop at zebra crossings if people are waiting to cross, not just if they are already crossing.

For more info and advice please click on the link to the government website