The Highway Code

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307 Highway Code Rules

Highway Code Rule 81

Do not ride across equestrian crossings, as they are for horse riders only. Do not ride across a pelican, puffin or zebra crossing. Dismount and wheel your cycle across.

Section: Rules for cyclists (rules 59 to 82)
Subsection: Crossing the road (rules 79 to 82)

Highway Code Rule 82

Crossings. Toucan crossings are light-controlled crossings which allow cyclists and pedestrians to share crossing space and cross at the same time. They are push-button operated. Pedestrians and cyclists will see the green signal together. Cyclists are permitted to ride across.

Cycle tracks on opposite sides of the road may be linked by cycle-only signalled crossings. You may ride across but you MUST NOT cross until the green cycle symbol is showing.

Cycle track crossings can be in spacious pedestrian environments. Cyclists should look out and be prepared to stop for pedestrians crossing the track informally as well as at these designated points.

Take extra care when crossing level crossings and tramways (see Rule 306). You should dismount at level crossings where a ‘cyclist dismount’ sign is displayed.

Laws

The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002: Schedule 14 Part 1

Section: Rules for cyclists (rules 59 to 82)
Subsection: Crossing the road (rules 79 to 82)

Highway Code Rule 83

On all journeys, the rider and pillion passenger on a motorcycle, scooter or moped MUST wear a protective helmet. This does not apply to a follower of the Sikh religion while wearing a turban. Helmets MUST comply with the Regulations and they MUST be fastened securely. Riders and passengers of motor tricycles and quadricycles, also called quadbikes, should also wear a protective helmet. Before each journey check that your helmet visor is clean and in good condition.

Laws

Section: Rules for motorcyclists (rules 83 to 88)
Subsection: General (rules 83 to 88)

Highway Code Rule 84

It is also advisable to wear eye protectors, which MUST comply with the Regulations. Scratched or poorly fitting eye protectors can limit your view when riding, particularly in bright sunshine and the hours of darkness. Consider wearing ear protection. Strong boots, gloves and suitable clothing may help to protect you if you are involved in a collision.

Laws

Section: Rules for motorcyclists (rules 83 to 88)
Subsection: General (rules 83 to 88)

Highway Code Rule 85

You MUST NOT carry more than one pillion passenger who MUST sit astride the machine on a proper seat. They should face forward with both feet on the footrests. You MUST NOT carry a pillion passenger unless your motorcycle is designed to do so. Provisional licence holders MUST NOT carry a pillion passenger.

Laws

Section: Rules for motorcyclists (rules 83 to 88)
Subsection: General (rules 83 to 88)

Highway Code Rule 86

Daylight riding. Make yourself as visible as possible from the side as well as the front and rear. You could wear a light or brightly coloured helmet and fluorescent clothing or strips. Dipped headlights, even in good daylight, may also make you more conspicuous. However, be aware that other vehicle drivers may still not have seen you, or judged your distance or speed correctly, especially at junctions.

Rule 86: Help yourself to be seen
Section: Rules for motorcyclists (rules 83 to 88)
Subsection: General (rules 83 to 88)

Highway Code Rule 87

Riding in the dark. Wear reflective clothing or strips to improve your visibility in the dark. These reflect light from the headlamps of other vehicles, making you visible from a longer distance. See Rules 113 to 116 for lighting requirements.

Section: Rules for motorcyclists (rules 83 to 88)
Subsection: General (rules 83 to 88)

Highway Code Rule 88

Manoeuvring. You should be aware of what is behind and to the sides before manoeuvring. Look behind you; use mirrors if they are fitted. When in traffic queues look out for pedestrians crossing between vehicles and vehicles emerging from junctions or changing lanes. Position yourself so that drivers in front can see you in their mirrors. Additionally, when filtering in slow-moving traffic, take care and keep your speed low.

Remember: Observation – Signal – Manoeuvre

Section: Rules for motorcyclists (rules 83 to 88)
Subsection: General (rules 83 to 88)

Highway Code Rule 89

Vehicle condition. You MUST ensure your vehicle and trailer comply with the full requirements of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations and Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations (see ‘The road user and the law‘).

Section: Rules for drivers and motorcyclists (rules 89 to 102)
Subsection: Vehicle condition (rule 89)

Highway Code Rule 90

Make sure that you are fit to drive. You MUST report to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) any health condition likely to affect your driving.

Law

Section: Rules for drivers and motorcyclists (rules 89 to 102)
Subsection: Fitness to drive (rules 90 to 94)

Highway Code Rule 91

Driving when you are tired greatly increases your risk of collision. To minimise this risk

  • make sure you are fit to drive. Do not begin a journey if you are tired. Get a good night’s sleep before embarking on a long journey
  • avoid undertaking long journeys between midnight and 6 am, when natural alertness is at a minimum
  • plan your journey to take sufficient breaks. A minimum break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours of driving is recommended
  • if you feel at all sleepy, stop in a safe place. Do not stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway
  • the most effective ways to counter sleepiness are to drink, for example, two cups of caffeinated coffee and to take a short nap (at least 15 minutes)
Section: Rules for drivers and motorcyclists (rules 89 to 102)
Subsection: Fitness to drive (rules 90 to 94)

Highway Code Rule 92

Vision. You MUST be able to read a vehicle number plate, in good daylight, from a distance of 20 metres (or 20.5 metres where the old style number plate is used). If you need to wear glasses (or contact lenses) to do this, you MUST wear them at all times while driving. The police have the power to require a driver to undertake an eyesight test.

Laws

Section: Rules for drivers and motorcyclists (rules 89 to 102)
Subsection: Fitness to drive (rules 90 to 94)

Highway Code Rule 93

Slow down, and if necessary stop, if you are dazzled by bright sunlight.

Section: Rules for drivers and motorcyclists (rules 89 to 102)
Subsection: Fitness to drive (rules 90 to 94)

Highway Code Rule 94

At night or in poor visibility, do not use tinted glasses, lenses or visors if they restrict your vision.

Section: Rules for drivers and motorcyclists (rules 89 to 102)
Subsection: Fitness to drive (rules 90 to 94)

Highway Code Rule 95

Do not drink and drive as it will seriously affect your judgement and abilities.

In England and Wales you MUST NOT drive with a breath alcohol level higher than 35 microgrammes/100 millilitres of breath or a blood alcohol level of more than 80 milligrammes/100 millilitres of blood.

In Scotland the legal limits are lower. You MUST NOT drive with a breath alcohol level higher than 22 microgrammes/100 millilitres of breath or a blood alcohol level of more than 50 milligrammes/100 millilitres of blood.

Alcohol will

  • give a false sense of confidence
  • reduce co-ordination and slow down reactions
  • affect judgement of speed, distance and risk
  • reduce your driving ability, even if you’re below the legal limit
  • take time to leave your body; you may be unfit to drive in the evening after drinking at lunchtime, or in the morning after drinking the previous evening.

The best solution is not to drink at all when planning to drive because any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive safely. If you are going to drink, arrange another means of transport.

Laws

Section: Rules for drivers and motorcyclists (rules 89 to 102)
Subsection: Alcohol and drugs (rules 95 to 96)

Highway Code Rule 96

You MUST NOT drive under the influence of drugs or medicine. For medicines, check with your doctor or pharmacist and do not drive if you are advised that you may be impaired.

You MUST NOT drive if you have illegal drugs or certain medicines in your blood above specified limits. It is highly dangerous so never take illegal drugs if you intend to drive; the effects are unpredictable, but can be even more severe than alcohol and result in fatal or serious road crashes. Illegal drugs have been specified at very low levels so even small amounts of use could be above the specified limits. The limits for certain medicines have been specified at higher levels, above the levels generally found in the blood of patients who have taken normal therapeutic doses. If you are found to have a concentration of a drug above its specified limit in your blood because you have been prescribed or legitimately supplied a particularly high dose of medicine, then you can raise a statutory medical defence, provided your driving was not impaired by the medicine you are taking.

Law

Section: Rules for drivers and motorcyclists (rules 89 to 102)
Subsection: Alcohol and drugs (rules 95 to 96)

Highway Code Rule 97

Before setting off. You should ensure that

  • you have planned your route and allowed sufficient time
  • clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner
  • you know where all the controls are and how to use them before you need them. Not all vehicles are the same; do not wait until it is too late to find out
  • your mirrors and seat are adjusted correctly to ensure comfort, full control and maximum vision
  • head restraints are properly adjusted to reduce the risk of neck and spine injuries in the event of a collision
  • you have sufficient fuel before commencing your journey, especially if it includes motorway driving. It can be dangerous to lose power when driving in traffic
  • ensure your vehicle is legal and roadworthy
  • switch off your mobile phone.
Rule 97: Make sure head restraints are properly adjusted
Section: Rules for drivers and motorcyclists (rules 89 to 102)
Subsection: Before setting off (rule 97)

Highway Code Rule 98

Vehicle towing and loading. As a driver

  • you MUST NOT tow more than your licence permits. If you passed a car test after 1 Jan 1997 you are restricted on the weight of trailer you can tow
  • you MUST NOT overload your vehicle or trailer. You should not tow a weight greater than that recommended by the manufacturer of your vehicle
  • you MUST secure your load and it MUST NOT stick out dangerously. Make sure any heavy or sharp objects and any animals are secured safely. If there is a collision, they might hit someone inside the vehicle and cause serious injury
  • you should properly distribute the weight in your caravan or trailer with heavy items mainly over the axle(s) and ensure a downward load on the tow ball. Manufacturer’s recommended weight and tow ball load should not be exceeded. This should avoid the possibility of swerving or snaking and going out of control. If this does happen, ease off the accelerator and reduce speed gently to regain control
  • carrying a load or pulling a trailer may require you to adjust the headlights.

In the event of a breakdown, be aware that towing a vehicle on a tow rope is potentially dangerous. You should consider professional recovery.

Laws

Section: Rules for drivers and motorcyclists (rules 89 to 102)
Subsection: Vehicle towing and loading (rule 98)

Highway Code Rule 99

You MUST wear a seat belt in cars, vans and other goods vehicles if one is fitted (see table below). Adults, and children aged 14 years and over, MUST use a seat belt or child restraint, where fitted, when seated in minibuses, buses and coaches. Exemptions are allowed for the holders of medical exemption certificates and those making deliveries or collections in goods vehicles when travelling less than 50 metres (approx 162 feet).

Laws

Seat belt requirements. This table summarises the main legal requirements for wearing seat belts in cars, vans and other goods vehicles.

Front seat Rear seat Who is responsible?
Driver Seat belt MUST be worn if fitted Driver
Child under 3 years of age Correct child restraint MUST be used Correct child restraint MUST be used. If one is not available in a taxi, may travel unrestrained. Driver
Child from 3rd birthday up to 1.35 metres in height (or 12th birthday, whichever they reach first) Correct child restraint MUST be used Correct child restraint MUST be used where seat belts fitted. MUST use adult belt if correct child restraint is not available in a licensed taxi or private hire vehicle, or for reasons of unexpected necessity over a short distance, or if two occupied restraints prevent fitment of a third. Driver
Child over 1.35 metres (approx 4ft 5ins) in height or 12 or 13 years Seat belt MUST be worn if available Seat belt MUST be worn if available Driver
Adult passengers aged 14 and over Seat belt MUST be worn if available Seat belt MUST be worn if available Passenger
Section: Rules for drivers and motorcyclists (rules 89 to 102)
Subsection: Seat belts and child restraints (rules 99 to 102)

Highway Code Rule 100

The driver MUST ensure that all children under 14 years of age in cars, vans and other goods vehicles wear seat belts or sit in an approved child restraint where required (see table above). If a child is under 1.35 metres (approx 4 feet 5 inches) tall, a baby seat, child seat, booster seat or booster cushion MUST be used suitable for the child’s weight and fitted to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Laws

Rule 100: Make sure that a child uses a suitable restraint which is correctly adjusted
Section: Rules for drivers and motorcyclists (rules 89 to 102)
Subsection: Seat belts and child restraints (rules 99 to 102)