Electric car owners are told to display a warning sign and park close to the charge point so passers-by don't trip over cables in Highway Code update

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Highway Codechanges to 49 of its existing rules come into effect this Saturday  Includes a 'hierarchy' of road users with pedestrians and cyclists right at the topRule 239 pertaining to electric car drivers will now say: 'When using an electric vehicle charge point, you should park close to the charge point'

Electric car owners have been told to display a warning sign and park close to charge points to passersby don’t trip over the cables in a new update to the Highway Code.  

The Highway Code contains advice and rules for people on Britain’s roads and a total of 49 existing rules are to be updated with new amendments as well.

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It is due to became updated on January 29 pending final parliamentary approval to introduce a risk-based hierarchy of road users. 

The most vulnerable road users will find themselves at the top of the list with larger vehicles coming at the bottom. 

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In first place is pedestrians, followed by cyclists, horse riders, motorcyclists, cars, vans and at the bottom of the list are larger vehicles such as HGVs and buses.  

Electric car owners have been told to display a warning sign and park close to charge points to passersby don't trip over the cables in a new update to the Highway Code

Global Tech News Daily

Electric car owners have been told to display a warning sign and park close to charge points to passersby don’t trip over the cables in a new update to the Highway Code

This Graphic shows how the Highway Code will change in relation to drivers and cyclists taking effect from next Saturday

This Graphic shows how the Highway Code will change in relation to drivers and cyclists taking effect from next Saturday

The rules state that even if there is a cycle lane, cyclists will not be obliged to use it and may cycle in the centre of the road

The rules state that even if there is a cycle lane, cyclists will not be obliged to use it and may cycle in the centre of the road

Rule 239 pertaining to electric car drivers will now say: ‘When using an electric vehicle charge point, you should park close to the charge point and avoid creating a trip hazard for pedestrians from trailing cables.

‘Display a warning sign if you can. After using the charge point, you should return charging cables and connectors neatly to minimise the danger to pedestrians and avoid creating an obstacle for other road users.’

And other rules will increase resentment towards cyclists and the number of road rage incidents, campaigners have said a week ahead of their introduction.

The ‘fundamental’ changes include encouraging cyclists to ride in the middle of the road in certain situations and requiring drivers and cyclists to give way to pedestrians at junctions.

But critics including the Alliance of British Drivers and IAM RoadSmart fear the policy change could have an adverse impact on the country’s motorists and other road users, including an increase in road rage incidents and dangerous confusion.  

These are the Government's 'key design principles' for its new plans for cycling, with the intention that it 'is or will become mass transit and must be treated as such'

These are the Government’s ‘key design principles’ for its new plans for cycling, with the intention that it ‘is or will become mass transit and must be treated as such’

Rule H1 in the new Highway Code
Rule H2 in the new Highway Code

The new rules in the updated Highway Code – rule H1 (pictured left), which introduces the ‘hierarchy of road users’ concept; then rule H2 (pictured right) which refers to how motorists ‘should give way to pedestrians waiting to cross a zebra crossing’

Someone driving will have more responsibility to watch out for people cycling, walking or riding a horse, and cyclists will have more responsibility to be aware of pedestrians.

Other key amendments include clearer guidance for drivers to leave a distance of at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists, and instructing drivers turning into a road to give way to pedestrians waiting to cross. 

Cyclists will be encouraged to ride in the middle of the road in some circumstances and, even if there is a cycle lane, they will not be obliged to use it. 

And mobile phones cannot be used at any point while at the wheel including in traffic and at red lights. 

Taking photos and videos and even changing a song will also be banned. The only exception to the rule is if a phone is needed to pay at a drive-through or at a tollbooth when the car is stationary.  

Failure to stick to the rules about mobile phones can end with a £200 fine and six penalty points. And if the offence happens within two years of the driver passing their test, they will lose their licence.   

Although the changes are set to be introduced on Saturday, charities and motoring groups say not enough has been done to make people aware and that this could lead to increased anger and resentment on the roads.

Neil Greig, the director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart, a road safety charity, told the Times: ‘A lot of drivers are going to think that somebody cycling in the middle of the lane in front of them is doing it to deliberately slow them down. 

‘That leads to conflict and road rage and inappropriate overtaking. Everybody needs to know all of these changes at the same time for it to work.’

Meanwhile, the Alliance of British Drivers slammed the changes as potentially dangerous.

A spokesman said: ‘The proposed hierarchy of road users is likely to create or exacerbate resentment and ill feeling between different classes of road user, and may lead to irresponsible attitudes by cyclists and pedestrians. 

‘All road users have a responsibility towards all other users and should treat one another with respect and tolerance.’

In response to the increased weight given to pedestrian safety, the group added: ‘This could cause confusion and possible accidents, especially if a driver is forced to stop part way through a turn from a main road into a side road and a following driver does not realise what is happening.’

When the changes were announced last year, the Department of Transport said it would ‘introduce a hierarchy of road users to ensure that those road users who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others’.

Boris Johnson said when the policy was announced that it would help ‘unleash our nation of cyclists’.

But according to a survey by AA, 33 per cent of motorists said they did not know the Highway Code is being revamped, including 4 per cent who have ‘no intention’ of looking at the details.

More than 13,700 drivers were questioned between January 8 and 18 for the survey, which was shared this weekend. 

The AA accused the Government of being ‘far too silent’ on the changes, but the Department for Transport (DfT) insisted it will ensure ‘all road users are aware’. 

In addition to the new hierarchy, there will also be a recommendation for car users to reduce the risk of opening a door into the path of a cyclist by using the hand on the opposite side to the door, as that will often lead to them looking over their shoulder.

This is known as the Dutch Reach technique.

AA head of roads policy Jack Cousens said: ‘With a week to go, too many drivers are unaware of the new rules of the road.

‘While the Government formally announced these changes last summer, they have been far too silent in promoting them.

‘Shockingly, one in 25 drivers say they have no intention of looking at the new rules.

‘These changes affect everyone, so we encourage people to read the updated code now so we can make our roads safer.’

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