Cyclists are one of the most at-risk groups of all vulnerable road users, so it’s important that you and your drivers do everything possible to help keep them safe whilst doing your job.
One of those ways is to use a safety technique called the ‘Dutch Reach’ that really can help save the lives of cyclists on the road.
Sadly, each year over 700 cyclists are injured by vehicle doors, and 2 cyclists are killed as a result of having vehicle doors opened on them.
The Dutch Reach could help prevent this.
This is a safety technique for drivers that has been in use in the Netherlands since the 1970s. Its aim is to stop cyclists and pedestrians from being hit by vehicle doors as they pass parked cars.
Doing the ‘Dutch Reach’
Doing the ‘Dutch Reach’ is about opening your door in such a way that gives the person exiting the vehicle the chance to check their mirrors, and blind spot, for people/cyclists passing the vehicle before opening the door.
The 5 key steps…
- Reach for the handle using the hand that’s furthest from the door
- In doing so you’ll naturally swivel your body towards your mirrors
- Check your mirror and look back into blind spots
- Only when you’re sure it’s clear, open your door slowly, rechecking for cyclists
- Finally, exit the vehicle facing the flow of traffic
By using the opposite hand, it forces you to turn your body and check behind you. It also allows you to check your rear-view and wing mirrors as you swivel.
Once you’ve checked your blind spot, you can make sure there is no oncoming cyclist that you might hit with the vehicle door you are safe to exit the vehicle.
It is hoped that the UK Government would add this to the Highway Code in the near future.
Also remember leaving vehicle doors open on the roadside whilst you gather Items from the cab can causes cyclists to swerve into the traffic unnecessarily. Think before doing this and gather the items from the pavement side of the vehicle.
Being considerate to other road users costs nothing and may save another road user’s life.
Know the law…
Rule 239 of the Highway Code says once the vehicle is safely parked “Check before opening your door”.
The law from The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 does relate to Highway code Rule 239 and states “No person shall open, or cause or permit to be opened, any door of a vehicle on a road so as to injure or endanger any person”.
If by opening a vehicle door on a road you endanger or injure a cyclist who is forced to swerve by your action and are then involved in a collision or are killed as a result of your action, whether you are the driver or the passenger, you could be punished by a fine of up to £1,000. No penalty points can be added to the offender’s licence.
Road Skills Online Professional Development Plan
We believe that regular driver training can help to improve driver’s behaviour on the road, helping you to save ££££’s on your bottom line. One of the monthly Toolbox Talks in our Professional Development Plan is on Vunerable Road Users, it’s designed to remind your drivers of what they need to know to stay safe.
Let our online driver training help you deliver Toolbox Talks to your drivers with ease. Click below to get your virtual demo and free trial!
Save time, save money and keep your drivers safe on the road, it’s a win-win for everybody.
Sources| Government stats | Highway Code Rules 239 |The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986
Published| October 2020