Motorists are to be told to give way to cyclists on roundabouts under new laws that could be in place by the end of the month.
The new rule, which is expected to appear in the Highway code, states: “You should give priority to cyclists on the roundabout. They will be travelling more slowly than motorised traffic. Give them plenty of room and do not attempt to overtake them within their lane. Allow them to move across your path as they travel around the roundabout.
“Cyclists, horse riders and horse drawn vehicles may stay in the left-hand lane when they intend to continue across or around the roundabout. Drivers should take extra care when entering a roundabout to ensure that they do not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles in the left-hand lane, who are continuing around the roundabout.”
The laws are currently going through parliament as part of a package of measures designed to protect cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians.
It would come into effect on January 29 if it is not blocked or delayed in the parliamentary process, said a spokesman for the Department for Transport.
Some 33 per cent of motorists polled for the AA said they did not know the Highway Code is being revamped, including 4 per cent with “no intention” of looking at the details.
More than 13,700 drivers were questioned between January 8 and 18 for the survey.
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”.
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.”
RAC spokesman Nicholas Lyes described the amendments as “a significant departure from what’s gone before”.
He said it is “vitally important” that all road users “fully understand what’s new”.
He went on: “Any ignorance, or indeed confusion, about the updates to the Highway Code is likely to lead to avoidable collisions.
“A concerted and sustained effort must now be made to clearly communicate the changes as widely as possible.”
A DfT spokesman said: “The proposed upcoming changes to the Highway Code will improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders and were announced to national press.
“The department has established a working group of key organisations to ensure that messages about the changes are as widespread as possible and our well-established Think! campaign will continue to ensure all road users are aware when these changes come into effect .”