Updates to the highway code are being currently being planned with some improvements to safety for cyclists. One of the biggest rumoured change is the introduction to the ‘Dutch Reach’ – a method of how to open your door when exiting the vehicle.
In short the recommendation is to use your outer hand (which you will change gear with) to reach across and open the door, whilst doing so glancing over your shoulder to check the road is clear to prevent a cyclist from being hit by your door (which is apparently something called ‘dooring’)
So why should we use the Dutch Reach?
Well the simple answer is it’s safer! Nobody wants to injure somebody by being careless, nobody wants to an insurance claim against them which is easily avoided. It’s quite easy in built up areas to open your door on a bicycle (or another motorist) – in 2016 the Transport secretary Chris Grayling was filmed knocking a cyclist off their bike – just proving it can happen to anyone
Advice on the Dutch Reach from RoSPA
Tips for drivers
- Check your rear-view mirror and side-view mirror before opening your car door with your far-side hand. The Dutch Reach forces your body to turn, making it a habit to look for cyclists.
- Open your door slowly at first, do not fling it open.
Tips for cyclists
- Cycle outside of the ‘door zone’. Ride at least a metre away from parked cars to avoid opening car doors on streets with and without cycle lanes. It is useful to remember the saying: ‘Door and a bit more.’
- Be aware of situations that could indicate a car door opening. Look out for recently-parked vehicles, vehicles with occupants visible through the window, taxi or delivery vehicles or the sight or sound of a door opening.