Thursday 28 March 2019
Traffic and Highway Services wish to advise the public that it has published a Highway Code for Guernsey that comes into effect on 29th March.
The document provides guidance for all road users and comprises the Official Highway Code as issued by the Department for Transport for England and Wales together with a Guernsey Code.
Much like the previous Highway Code Guernsey Laws supplement, the Guernsey Code clarifies areas where material differences exist between the UK Highway Code and Guernsey Law and also provides a summary of many important parts of Guernsey traffic legislation. However, the Guernsey Code is not an authoritative statement of Guernsey law and reference should be made to legislative sources if this is required.
There are only a couple of material changes in the Guernsey Code that need to be specifically highlighted at this time and these relate to:
- the introduction of offences relating to parking, riding or driving on signed or painted pedestrian walkways, cycle lanes and shared surfaces;
- clarification of the offence relating to driving on a footpath;
- requirements for waiting at the scene of an accident where a serious injury or fatality has occurred; and
- additional circumstances in which a driver can cross a solid centre line.
The Guernsey Code also highlights other recent law changes relating to the wearing of seat belts and associated requirements for the use of child restraints, the fitting of mirrors, exhausts and speedometers to vehicles and the requirements for the carriage of loads.
All road users should be familiar with both the UK Highway Code and the Guernsey Code as they provide general guidance for the safe use of the roads. Failure to comply with the provisions of the Highway Code will not necessarily mean that a criminal offence has been committed, but any such contravention may be taken into account by the Court in deciding liability in any proceedings.
The Highway Code (UK Highway Code & Guernsey Code) can be obtained from Traffic & Highway Services Bulwer Avenue Office, the Police Station and from certain book stores. A copy of the Guernsey Code is published on www.gov.gg/drivingtests and copied below:
All road users are advised to familiarise themselves with the requirements of the Guernsey Code, particularly if they are using the roads for the first time or preparing for a theory or practical driving test.
For experienced motorists there are minimal new requirements but drivers and riders should be aware that facilities such as signed or painted pedestrian walkways, cycle lanes and shared surfaces will be defined, and the rules governing their use set out, in Guernsey legislation for the first time. As from 29th March this means, for example, that drivers and riders will only be permitted to enter the aforementioned marked areas with due care in order to pass another vehicle. Parking or waiting in these areas which are designated for the use of vulnerable road users will be prohibited. The offence of driving on a footpath has also been further clarified at this time.
As is currently the case in the UK, it will become permissible to cross a solid centre line in order to safely pass a cycle, horse or mobility scooter that is not travelling in excess of 10mph. Also, drivers unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident where a serious injury or fatality has occurred will be required to wait on scene until authorised to leave by the Police unless they are receiving medical attention or are assisting an injured person.
Road users need not be concerned by the introduction of the Guernsey Code which, with the exception of the aforementioned issues, simply better clarifies where differences exist between the UK Highway Code and the Guernsey Code. Where changes have been made they are unlikely to make any difference to drivers who are already using good road craft.