Motorists could be caught out by this new Highway Code driving law
Road users could be fined for failing to open their car door in this way in a desperate bid to save the lives of cyclists. The dutch reach method means motorists will need to open their car doors with their furthest hand rather than the one next to the door.
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This will ensure motorists turn their body and look properly into their blindspot before opening the door.
Turning a door handle without doing the full dutch reach can put cyclists at risk with around 700 injured each year.
The AA claims their driving school instructors already teach the method to learner drivers but the policy is not part of the current Highway Code.
Putting the method into the book will ensure learner drivers across the UK are taught the method as standard.
Opening a door in front of a cyclist is already against the Highway Code but the dutch reach rule will firm up the legislation.
Rule 239 of the Highway Code says motorists must ensure they do not hit anyone when they open the door.
The offence can see road users punished with up to £1,000 although no penalty points are likely to be added to a licence.
However, opening a car door in front of a cyclist could put them at risk if they need to swerve and higher charges could be implemented.
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Drivers could be charged for careless or dangerous driving which is likely to see overall fines increase.
In severe cases, motorists could face a court hearing where road users may be issued charges of £2,500 and could even face a temporary driving ban.
Statistics from Cycling UK shows 35 percent of motorists do not look out for cyclists when opening their car door.
Meanwhile, their survey has shown 40 percent of people are put off cycling because they fear car doors would be opened in front of them.
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However, a study of more than 17,000 motorists by the AA found the majority were not even aware of what the dutch reach policy was.
But the survey did reveal 62 percent think it should be included in the Highway Code and taught in driving lessons.
AA President, Edmund King has previously said: “Harmony between different road users should be the goal for everyone.
“It’s making a simple change to the way you open a car door can have a significant impact on the safety of those on two wheels.”
The Dutch reach policy was founded in the Netherlands over 50 years ago and the nation now has some of the safest roads for cyclists.
Implementing the scheme in the UK will push the nation closer to some of Europe’s highest road safety standards in a bid to reduce incidents.
Edmund King says: “Using the Dutch Reach is straightforward – simply open your car door with the hand that is furthest from the door.
“It will force you to turn, enabling you to very quickly check if a cyclist or motorcyclist is approaching.”
“It’s really just down to habit – and it’s a habit we should be trying to adopt.
“Putting it into the Highway Code will help to get it into the minds of car drivers and passengers.”
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