UK drivers will be encouraged to use it when opening their car doors to look for approaching cyclists
The ‘Dutch Reach’ could soon be included in the UK Highway Code, forcing drivers to look behind for approaching cyclists.
In Holland, the ‘Dutch Reach’ is used by motorists to ensure cyclists’ safety whilst both sharing the roads. Basically, the ‘Dutch Reach’ sees the driver using their left hand to open their door, which forces them to look over their shoulder for approaching cyclists, whilst the front seat passenger uses their right hand.
This simple but effective move encourages motorists to look behind before opening their vehicle door, preventing an approaching cyclist from possibly crashing into the drivers door, thus avoiding injury.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed that there will be a review of the UK Highway Code and motorists will be encouraged to apply the Dutch Reach to their daily routine when opening their vehicle door.
Also, drivers will be made to provide plenty of room when overtaking cyclists.
At the moment, the Highway Code states that drivers “should” give cyclists “at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car”, however the word “should” could to be changed to the word “must”, which makes it a legally binding rule as far as the Highway Code is concerned.
“Britain has some of the safest roads in the world, but we need them to be safer still for all – and particularly for cyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users,” said Under Secretary of State for Transport, Jesse Norman, after announcing the changes.
The new rules have been welcomed by road and cycling safety experts, with head of roads policy for the RAC, Nicholas Lyes, saying: “We support the introduction of the ‘Dutch Reach’ principle to the Highway Code, a small change every motorist can make when exiting their vehicle that can make a huge difference to the safety of passing cyclists.”
The Head of Campaigns at Cycling UK, Duncan Dollimore, said he was “delighted” to hear that the Highway Code was to be reviewed with the safety of cyclists in mind.
Mr Dollimore said: “Close overtakes and people opening car doors in front of cyclists are not only dangerous, they also put people off riding a bike.”
A call for evidence was launched earlier this year by the DfT into cycle and car safety, whilst some police forces have been leaning more on drivers who fail to leave enough space when overtaking a cyclist.
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