Cycling group promotes 'Dutch reach' to protect riders
September 11, 2017
Cycling UK is seeking to promote what is known as the "Dutch reach" by motorists and their passengers, a technique of opening car doors that reduces the chance of hitting a cyclist.
According to official figures eight riders have died and thousands have been injured over the last five years when car doors have been opened right in front of riders, with cyclists usually being the victims of such collisions. Accidents of this kind, known as 'car dooring', can incur fines of up to £1,000 for the occupants of motor vehicles.
The Dutch reach is a technique where people open the door with the opposite hand to the one nearest the door, meaning they have to turn their bodies around and thus face behind them. This means they can see if any cyclist is just behind them.
Bicycle insurance customers may gain extra benefits from the widespread adoption of the Dutch reach, as it would not only reduce the chances of injury, but also cut the odds of their bike being damaged or wrecked.
Commenting on the issue, Cycling UK chief executive Paul Tuohy said: "Some people seem to see car-dooring as a bit of a joke, but it's not and can have serious consequences."
He added that the charity "wants to see greater awareness made about the dangers of opening your car door negligently, and people to be encouraged to look before they open".
Mr Tuohy has written to transport minister Jesse Norman to ask that steps be taken to advise drivers and passengers of the dangers of car-dooring and the safety benefits of the Dutch reach.
Among those involved in such collisions was transport secretary Chris Grayling, who hit a cyclist when opening a car door earlier this year. The rider was not seriously harmed.
According to the most recent Department for Transport figures, 80 per cent of cyclists hold a driving licence, so many people will be protecting fellow riders if they learn the Dutch reach.
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