New 2022 driving law will see motorists make one ‘important’ change to protect cyclists

GB News: Panel debate Highway Code changes

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The driving law changes are set to come into effect on January 29, and will see a number of new rules being enforced. One of the most prominent changes will be the introduction of the “Dutch Reach” as a new Highway Code rule to better protect cyclists and pedestrians.

Peter Lorence, a serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, explained what the Dutch Reach is and why it is being introduced.

He said: “When cycling by parked vehicles, the risk of doors being opened into a cyclist’s path is a real danger and a common cause of collision.

“Previously The Highway Code had warned only for cyclists to watch out for doors being opened.

“Rule 67 has now been revised to provide guidance on the safe distance to pass parked vehicles; it now suggests leaving a door’s width or one metre when doing so. 

“For those opening the doors of parked vehicles, Rule 239 has also been updated to include what is often known as the ‘Dutch Reach’.

“When you are able to do so, you should open your vehicle door using your hand on the opposite side to the door you are opening.

“For example, if you are in the right-hand seat, you would use your left hand to open the door.

“In doing so, this forces you to turn your body and your head, better enabling you to check over your shoulder and your blind spot.

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“This better enables those in vehicles to check whether it is safe to open their door, reducing the chance of opening their door into someone’s path.”

This is one the main rules which is set to be added, alongside a host of other new changes designed to make the roads safer for more vulnerable users.

A “hierarchy of road users” is being created with the new changes to bring in more protection for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

This comes as the Government has invested £338million into promoting cycling and walking.

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