Every blunder The Highway Code has changed the way drivers and passengers open their doors, and all drivers and passengers in the UK have been warned. The DVLA is pushing through a range of updates to the Highway Code in January in the name of improving safety for all.
Everyone in the UK, including drivers and passengers, must use the new technique or face a £1000 DVSA fine for opening your doors wrong.
To protect riders, new guidelines have been implemented.
Instead of blindly opening a door, the 'Dutch Reach' states that you should open it with the hand furthest from the door - if you're driving, you'd use your left hand, while on the passenger side, you'd use your right.
When a driver opens the door with the hand furthest away, they must turn their body towards the door and look over their shoulder as they exit their vehicle. The strategy relies heavily on the over-the-shoulder view when you grab for your door handle.
They will be able to see any bikes or pedestrians passing by their vehicle that they might have missed if they hadn't checked. The new section under rule 239 will now read:
"Where you are able to do so, you should open the door using your hand on the opposite side to the door you are opening; for example, use your left hand to open a door on your right-hand side. This will make you turn your head to look over your shoulder. You are then more likely to avoid causing injury to cyclists or motor cyclists passing you on the road, or to people on the pavement."section rule 239
Your can be receive a £1000 DVSA Fine for opening your doors wrong, although no penalty points can be added to the offender's licence.
According to Devon Live, Cycling UK's extensive lobbying on the 'Dutch Reach' was crucial to the implementation of the new recommendations.
According to Cycling UK, approximately 500 individuals are harmed every year in the UK when a motorist opens a car door into a cyclist's path.
The issue was pushed to the forefront again in 2016 when Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary at the time, was captured on camera pushing a rider off their bike while opening his door on Whitehall.
This method was adapted from the Netherlands, where it has long been the standard method for exiting a car, hence the moniker "Dutch Reach."
On Saturday, January 29th, the most recent update to the Highway Code, as well as the legal enforcement of new laws, will go into effect. Although it seems like a harsh penalty - £1000 DVSA fine for opening your doors wrong - it's something that can seriously injure and kill.