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Cycling UK calls for greater public awareness of 'car dooring'

Posted on in Cycles News, Outdoor News

Cycling UK have called for wider awareness to be made about the dangers of car dooring and how to prevent it through a public awareness campaign.

cycle pathFigures released by the Department for Transport to Cycling UK show between 2011 and 2015 there were 3108 people were injured, eight fatally, where ‘vehicle door opened or closed negligently' was a contributing factor in incidents attended by the police. 2009 of the casualties were people cycling, with five resulting in fatalities.

Cycling UK believes that these figures are not fully representative of the scale of the problem, as not all car dooring incidents will be attended by the police.

In a letter to Transport Minister, Jesse Norman MP, Cycling UK Chief Executive Paul Tuohy has called for a public awareness THINK campaign aimed at all car occupants, not just drivers, to look before opening their door.

Cycling UK believe a method where people open car doors with their far hand, rather than the near could prove beneficial and prevent avoidable collisions. This method, sometimes called 'the Dutch Reach' as it is common practice in the Netherlands, has the benefit of allowing the person opening their car door to look behind while also limiting how far their door can open.

The cycling charity has also suggested a public awareness campaign could include advice on safer road positioning for people cycling, so as to create understanding among all road users about the importance of avoiding the 'door zone'.

The charity would also like to see methods like the 'Dutch Reach' promoted through driver training, and changes to the law which would include an offence of 'death or serious injury through negligently opening a car door'. The current offence of car dooring currently carries a maximum £1,000 penalty, even if someone dies or is seriously injured as a result of the incident.

Paul Tuohy, Cycling UK's Chief Executive said "Some people seem to see car dooring as a bit of a joke, but it's not and can have serious consequences.

"Cycling UK 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.

"In the Netherlands they are known for practicing a method, known sometimes as the "Dutch Reach", which we think could be successfully encouraged in the UK. Cycling UK has written to the Department for Transport asking them to look into this, and highlight the dangers of "car-dooring" through a public awareness THINK style campaign."

 

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