A change of habit to protect vulnerable road users

11.18 | 11 September 2020 |

Drivers and passengers in Wales are being encouraged to get into the habit of reaching across to the vehicle’s door with their far hand to open it.

The Dutch Reach is a ‘simple yet effective’ technique to prevent ‘dooring’ – caused when people exiting a vehicle suddenly open a door into the path of a cyclist, or other vulnerable road user.

Road Safety Wales says the slower and more cautious door opening technique provides the time and space for collisions to be avoided.

It adds that as active travel increases, safer interaction between cars and bicycles is reliant on co-operation and a greater awareness from drivers.

Teresa Ciano, chair of Road Safety Wales, said: “When exiting a vehicle using the Dutch Reach, check your mirrors and reach for the door handle with the hand that is furthest from the door.

“Your upper body will swivel, allowing you to check over your shoulder to the side and rear.

“Opening the door slightly and checking again before exiting the vehicle will greatly reduce the risk of coming into contact with a passing cyclist.”

Michelle Harrington, road safety manager for RoSPA in Wales, said: “In many scenarios it is very difficult for cyclists to totally avoid travelling within the door zone, the area near parked vehicles which puts them at greater risk of dooring.

“A vehicle door suddenly being opened into the path of a cyclist is a frightening experience which too frequently results in collisions and avoidance manoeuvres, such as swerving or braking, which can cause injuries or even fatalities.”



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