The Cumbria Road Safety Partnership are urging locals to read the up-and-coming changes to the Highway code.

The partnership includes members from Cumbria Police, Cumbria County Council and Highways.

As of January 29, eight new rules are being introduced, along with 49 updates to existing rules, to better protect more vulnerable road users.

The main new rules are as follows:

Rule H1 - The hierarchy of road users

This is the most significant change and says that road users who can do the greatest harm (those driving large vehicles) have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they pose to other road users.

The new hierarchy of road users are:

  • Pedestrians
  • Cyclists
  • Horse riders
  • Motorcyclists
  • Cars/taxis
  • Vans/minibuses
  • Large passenger vehicles/heavy goods vehicles

Rule H2 - for drivers, motorcyclists, horse drawn vehicles, horse riders and cyclists

At a junction you should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from which you are turning.

You must give way to pedestrians on or waiting to cross a zebra crossing, and to pedestrians and cyclists on or waiting to cross a parallel crossing.

Horse riders should also give way to pedestrians on a zebra crossing, and to pedestrians and cyclists on a parallel crossing.

Wait to turn near cyclists or horse riders.

Rule H3: New priority for cyclists when cars are turning

This rules states that other road users should not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles going ahead when you are turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane.

It says that you should not turn at a junction if to do so would cause the cyclist, horse rider or horse drawn vehicle going straight ahead to stop or swerve. You should stop and wait for a safe gap in the flow of cyclists if necessary.

Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Highways, said: “The new update of the highway code will take effect nationally, on Saturday 29 January.

"In general, the goal is to reduce accidents and collisions, by making those who can cause the greatest harm to have the most responsibility on our roads.

"We encourage all residents, visitors, and business owners to read the new highway code and to drive carefully, while enjoying the scenery of our beautiful county.

Sergeant Claire Sampson from Cumbria Constabulary’s Mobile Support Group said “I’d urge all road users, but especially drivers, to take note of the changes to the rules of our roads.

“The new hierarchy highlights those most at risk of becoming a casualty on our roads, it’s the responsibility of us all to ensure we keep others safe."

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall said “We need to raise awareness of the new rules in the Highway Code and encourage all road users to put them into practice, as from Saturday 29 January.“It is the responsibility of all road users to keep themselves up to date and make sure they are aware of for example, the new hierarchy of responsibility for road users, the new priority for pedestrians at junctions and the new priority for cyclists when cars are turning.

“All new changes in the Highway Code serve to improve our road safety and help reduce the number of collisions and accidents in the county, which can only ever be a good thing.”

Click here to read about the eight changes or visit the Cumbria County Council website or the Cumbria Police website.