2019 is finally here, and with it comes a new raft of safety-driven motoring laws to get your head around.

To help you, here’s our quick guide for what to expect from 2019’s new motoring laws.

Fines for ignoring cyclist etiquette

The Highway Code already states that drivers have to leave a reasonable distance of 1.5 metres between their car and cyclists on the road.

From this March, motorists face being hit with a fine of up to £100 and three penalty points on their licence if they don’t leave enough space for cyclists.

Officials hope the new penalties will help lower the number of casualties caused by cars hitting cyclists on the roads.

Police officers will issue penalties to drivers who put cyclists at risk. In 2017, 18,321 cyclists were injured on the roads, and road safety campaigners hope the new rules reduce the number of ‘close passes’.

Motorway driving for learner drivers

At the moment, motorists aren’t allowed to drive on the motorway until they’ve passed their driving test.

But the government is now changing the rules to let learners experience motorway driving, as long as they’re supervised by an instructor in a car with dual controls.

This should help newer drivers become more confident when driving at higher speeds, which can be daunting at first.

According to an RAC road safety spokesman, the move will give “learners the option to gain valuable experience on our fastest and busiest roads [and] should further improve safety and enhance the confidence of new drivers.”

Fines for smart motorway violations

Smart motorways are increasingly common in the UK.

They’re designed to manage the flow of traffic on highways that are heavily congested or partially closed. However, they only work when drivers obey the red X signs on lanes that have been closed.

Drivers that don’t follow the signs could be fined up to £100 as a penalty for using the lanes they shouldn’t.

Though the government hasn’t officially announced the fines or what the penalty points punishment will be, they are expected to do so later this year, with the penalty expected to be three penalty points and a fine, using roadside cameras used to spot drivers violating the rules.

That means if you try and use a closed lane, whether accidentally or on purpose, you’ll be caught pretty quickly.

New MOT rules

2019 will see new defect categories introduced, which drivers will need to be aware of when getting an MOT. Defects will be listed under the categories of:

  • Pass – meets MOT standards
  • Advisory – defects could cause possible future issues
  • Minor – defects won’t affect the safety of the car, but the issue needs to be fixed as soon as possible
  • Major – defects could be dangerous for safety or the environment, and the car will not pass an MOT
  • Dangerous – defects are a definite risk for road safety or the environment, and the car will not pass an MOT

There will also be new checks that will be introduced as part of the MOT. These include those for:

  • Contaminated brake fluids
  • Underinflated tyres
  • Malfunctioning reversing lights
  • Malfunctioning brake pad warning lights
  • Missing brake pads or discs
  • Malfunctioning daytime running lights

Reversing lights will only be checked on cars produced after September 2009, while daytime running lights will be checked only on cars produced after March 2018.

Changes are also being considered for when vehicles need their first MOT, as under the current rule it’s three years, but this may be changed to four years.

After the first test, an MOT check is required every 12 months, so keep yourself on the right side of the law by making sure you don’t forget to book your car in when it’s due.

Graduated driving licences

In 2018, the government announced it will launch a pilot scheme for graduated driving licences in Northern Ireland.

The scheme will put restrictions on newly qualified motorists in a bid to keep young drivers safer on the roads, as government stats suggest one in four drivers are involved in an accident in their first two years behind the wheel.

Currently, there are no such restrictions on new drivers, although if they rack up six penalty points in the first two years of driving they’ll have their licence revoked.

The new licences could see restrictions on young drivers including curfews for driving times, a limit on the number of passengers allowed, restrictions on engine size and lower drink-drive limits.

If the Northern Irish pilot is successful, graduated licences could soon be rolled out across the UK.

To keep up to date with all the driving laws that could affect you, make sure you visit 1ST Central’s Hub for all things related to the rules of the road.

27 Comments

  1. Cyclists sould be find for riding two abreast then as how can you pass them plus they dazzle on coming traffic with their powerful lights on their heads!!!!!

    • Hamish says:

      Absolutely! The law should apply to all road users. My pet hate is cyclists who ignore traffic signals and take to the pavement to avoid them. Imagine doing that on a motorcycle, you’d get slaughtered! And so should they. Insurance or the lack of is my next big irritant, one rule for motorists and another for cyclists, total bullsh1t.

  2. David adamthwaite says:

    Again nothing to curb the arrogance of cyclists red lights riding on pavements no lights at night and a myriad of other offences

  3. Gary Wright says:

    Cyclists are road users too but don’t need to be insured, taxed or their bikes MOT’d. Cyclists are also at fault for excessive speeds in built up areas, undertaking and also running red lights. The laws need changing to reflect the fact that it’s now a recognised form of transport and as such, such be taxed and maintained as other road users are. Road laws needs to reflect their usage, as they are getting more and more. Cycle groups require laws to reflect bunching and making it near on impossible at times to overtake. Yet again the responsibility is taken away from the cyclist and on to the motorists. All road users should abide by the same laws.

    • Sugra says:

      I agree I was pass on the inside by a cyclist he deep scratched my bmw and when I horned him he just put his hand up and went on riding who is liable I have to pay hundreds of pounds to get it fixed there should have to pay road tax and insurance too they are using the road just like all the cars and buses and trucks I’m livid

  4. Ianrouillon says:

    It has to be a two way thing cyclists jump the lights , cut in and out of cars … and ride two abreast

  5. Jerry says:

    Also the amount of time cyclists think it’s ok to undertake you when traffics slow. They surely should be sticking to the Highway Code on all aspects of road users. Start registration on all cyclists and pay a small fee. Perhaps £50 per year to help identify the culprits so we can report their bad behaviour. They’re only too quick with head cams to report motorists.

  6. Malcolm Forbes (no, not that one) says:

    Cyclists should be fined for wearing those very tight shorts they wear that leave little to the imagination. Especially male cyclists; you can count the hairs on their behinds for God sake.

  7. Kev DIXON says:

    How do they get away with it, if they are in the wrong they blame u, run them over and go to court and win 9 / 10 it’s their fault anyway, like all the others said on the pavement, jumping red lights com on. Enough said

  8. Alan says:

    Just a thought: Motorist have to be Licensed, have their vehicle insured , pass a MOT yearly and pay Road tax.
    Whereas cyclists have none of these requirements?
    Makes you think?

  9. Adam ogden says:

    Cyclists are ignorant they peddle in groups side by side and also horses shudnt be on roads they belong in fields

    • Martin says:

      Horses have more right on the roads than cyclists and all horse riders i know are courteous, unlike cyclists. How do you move a horse from one field to another if they can’t use roads. Anyway, think about it most of our roads are there because of horses. Roads were originally bridal ways and our roads in the UK still follow those bridal ways.

  10. Hugo says:

    Motor drivers have to pay road tax which Is applicable . Part of that money goes for the upgrade and maintenance of the roads . Like signals lights . And lanes , cyclist use them too and mostly specially central London they have their own road and we get points for use them but it’s ok for them to cross lanes on roundabouts , and intercections without signaling and nothing gets done to them ,, plus they don’t contribute for any of cyclists road maintenance and contraction ;, who is paying for that ? “Motor drivers”

  11. Dave says:

    Since we appear to quote the Highway Code…why in my town do find parking on bends, hills, t junctions, kerbs (oft causing hazard to children in buggies and disabled having to go into traffic flow), double yellow lines etc etc

    In some avenues you would never get a fire engine or ambulance down them to assist in emergency due to parking on BOTH sides of the road

    What is going on here???

  12. Cyclists jumping red lights when the pedesrian lights are green.
    All cyclists should have road insurance. Because if they cause the accident of a motorist who pays?
    And they should all be made to wear hi viz as standard road safety.

  13. Jim Cookson says:

    I slowed down to advise a cyclist that he had no lights no reflectors and black clothing at 11 pm on rural road in the fog.
    All I got was death threats.

  14. Bob Whitelaw says:

    You should be taxed and insured to use ANY vehicle on the road.

  15. Ray says:

    Why are the police ignoring cycling offenses

  16. Petra Dodd says:

    Cyclists should have road insurance like horse and riders. Bikes ride 2 abreast and ride erratically i had one ride out infront of me crossing the road no warning nothing no lights or reflective clothing and had one literally lean against my car.. at traffic lights. They scratch your car and get away with it they frigging get away with murder.

  17. Sammy says:

    About time they made this new law to make drivers aware of driving carefully and not taking on cyclists just because they hate them.
    Cyclist reduce pollution, most drive carefully, if you added all the Looney drivers % v Looney cyclist, I think you will find the % is much more for Looney drivers.
    Shall we get the pedestrians who cross roads badly to have a licence also?
    Can’t wait for Autonomous cars they wont hate us.

  18. Alex says:

    this should include passing horses at a slow speed and wide. A little warning from cyclists they are coming up would be good too.
    As a rider I have public liability insurance for my horse and myself….Can cyclists say the same?

  19. P. Rayner says:

    I was waiting to turn right in my car and just before i moved (I was still stationary) a cyclist came down the hill on the road couldn’t stop hit my car causing damage, A ambulance was called and guess what I HAD to pay for that service even though it was not my fault.
    It’s about time they paid insurance.

  20. Klaus-Dieter Manfred Dirla says:

    While I agree with all the points above regarding cyclists, let’s perhaps also mention that very few drivers use their indicators anymore, they don’t indicate when overtaking cyclists or any other hazard such as parked cars, also people increasingly overtake on blind bends, essentially are lazy, selfish and downright pig ignorant. Perhaps we could all drive with due care and consideration but people have become self – righteous, self obsessed, discourteous and rude. Rant over.

  21. Roy says:

    All Cyclists are bound by the same rules as the motorist, jump a red you get find, but cars have a reg number, cyclists don’t, I am a cyclist and I abide by the rules, If you voted for the Tories blame yourself for cuts to the police. Do you see any on the roads these days ? One solution is to get a camera and report them your self….. Simple

  22. Simon says:

    All those rules are available only for drivers. Cyclists are always favorised by the laws. When this government will implement rules and regulations for them, how they done with the drivers. Last week one lady cycle pass my 32t lorry trying to squiz between car parked and lorry she end up getting her cycle broken and her leg full of scratches. She was lucky she didn’t lost her life. Likely for me I have 6 cameras fitted on my lorry see her how try to pass on the small gap. They don’t have respect for any drivers put them on high risk when they do those stupid decisions.

  23. John Quayle says:

    18k cyclists caused accidents to themselves on the road more like

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