Changes to the Highway Code

28th January 2022

The Highway code is due to change on 29th January 2022. Which is great news for horse riders. We have taken a look at how the revised code will benefit riders and their horses.

We have all seen an increase in incidents that have occurred over the years involving horse riders on the roads. So, it’s time the rules changed to provide greater protection for all. A new ‘Hierarchy of Road Users’ will be introduced to prioritise vulnerable road users, such as horse rider, cyclists and pedestrians to help keep us protected and safe on the roads.

The ‘Hierarchy of Road Users’ is:

  • Pedestrians
  • Cyclists
  • Horse Riders
  • Motorcyclist
  • Car
  • Vans
  • Heavy Goods Vehicles

‘Hierarchy of Road Users’ and new Rule H1 ensures that those road users who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to other road users. The objective of the hierarchy is not to give priority to pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders in every situation, but rather to ensure a more mutually respectful and considerate culture of safe and effective road use that benefits all users.

Rule H2 of The Highway Code clearly states that, at a junction, you should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road that you’re turning into. Previously, vehicles had priority at a junction.

Rule H3 applies to drivers and motorcyclists and states that “you 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, just as you would not turn across the path of another motor vehicle.”

These rules will help keep riders and horses safe on the roads as the rules enforce:

  • Horse rider must be given at least two-meter distance between them and the horse.
  • The vehicle must be going under 10MPH when passing horses on the road.
  • Driver must wait behind the horse, cyclist, or pedestrian. If there is not enough room to overtake or it is unsafe to do so.

Rules about animals

The ‘Rules about animals’ chapter of The Highway Code will be updated to suggest that those new to horse riding, or those who have not ridden for a while, consider undertaking training.

If you are an inexperienced horse rider or have not ridden for a while, consider taking the Ride Safe Award from the British Horse Society. The Ride Safe Award provides a foundation for any horse rider to be safe and knowledgeable when riding in all environments but particularly on the road. For more information visit the BHS website.

To learn more about the upcoming changes to the Highway Code visit:

Horse and Rider UK


UK Government

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