Scotland's Road Safety Framework

Within a Safe System, safe road users follow the rules of the road and are competent at all levels.

The Highway Codes applies to everyone who users our road and stipulates the rules that road users must follow. The Highway Code is a set of information, advice, guides and mandatory rules with the main aim to promote road safety.

All road users should read and familiarise themselves with these rules, as failure to comply with some of them is a criminal offence and may result in prosecution. The Highway Code protects all road users, especially the ones that are most vulnerable on our roads, such as cyclists and horse riders, ensuring that all road users are considerate of one another.

The Highway Code is Reserved to the UK Government and applies to all road users in the UK.

Key changes to be aware of are as follows:

– The ‘Hierarchy of Road Users’ is a concept that places those road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy. The hierarchy does not remove the need for everyone to behave responsibly. The road users most likely to be injured in the event of a collision are pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists, with children, older adults and disabled people being more at risk. The following H rules clarify this concept.

– Rule H2

Rule 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 a zebra crossing, and to pedestrians and cyclists on a parallel crossing (see Rule 195).
  • Pedestrians have priority when on a zebra crossing, on a parallel crossing or at light controlled crossings when they have a green signal.
  • You should give way to pedestrians waiting to cross a zebra crossing, and to pedestrians and cyclists 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.
  • Cyclists should give way to pedestrians on shared use cycle tracks and to horse riders on bridleways.
  • Only pedestrians may use the pavement. Pedestrians include wheelchair and mobility scooter users.
  • Pedestrians may use any part of the road and use cycle tracks as well as the pavement, unless there are signs prohibiting pedestrians.

– Rule 59 for cyclists: You should wear a cycle helmet that conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and securely fastened. Evidence suggests that a correctly fitted helmet will reduce your risk of sustaining a head injury in certain circumstances.

– Rule 66 for cyclists: be considerate of the needs of other road users when riding in groups. You can ride two abreast and it can be safer to do so, particularly in larger groups or when accompanying children or less experienced riders. Be aware of drivers behind you and allow them to overtake (for example, by moving into single file or stopping) when you feel it is safe to let them do so.

– Rule 163 for drivers and riders: give motorcyclists, cyclists, horse riders and horse drawn vehicles at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car (see Rules 211 to 215). As a guide:

─         leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30 mph, and give them more space when overtaking at higher speeds

─         pass horse riders and horse-drawn vehicles at speeds under 10 mph and allow at least 2 metres of space

─         allow at least 2 metres of space and keep to a low speed when passing a pedestrian who is walking in the road (for example, where there is no pavement)

─         take extra care and give more space when overtaking motorcyclists, cyclists, horse riders, horse drawn vehicles and pedestrians in bad weather (including high winds) and at night

─         you should wait behind the motorcyclist, cyclist, horse rider, horse drawn vehicle or pedestrian and not overtake if it is unsafe or not possible to meet these clearances

You can read more on The Highway Code changes and what this means for you:

The Highway Code: 8 changes you need to know from 29 January 2022 – GOV.UK (