Cycling UK has teamed up with Uber to raise awareness of a ‘simple technique’ to ensure drivers avoid opening doors into the path of cyclists.
The ‘Dutch Reach’ manoeuvre is a method of opening a car door with the hand furthest from the handle. It forces car occupants to turn their body and check over the shoulder for cyclists and other road users.
The Dutch Reach is taught and used in many other countries, but a recent Cycling UK poll suggests that in the UK only 12% of people are aware of the technique, with those surveyed admitting they thought it was a type of a Dutch beer (22%), a handshake (19%) or a yoga pose (15%).
Cycling UK says hundreds of cyclists across England, Wales and Scotland are injured each year when someone opens a car door in their path – although the actual figure is ‘much higher’ as many collisions aren’t reported.
Using ‘hard-hitting’ virtual reality
The campaign uses a virtual reality video, filmed from the perspective of a passenger, showing a collision caused by a driver opening their door – and how it could have been avoided using the Dutch Reach.
The video will be shared with more than five million passengers and 60,000 licensed drivers who use the Uber app in the UK.
Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at Cycling UK, said: “We know 60 cyclists are killed or seriously injured across Britain every year by car dooring incidents.
“We also know from a survey that 40% of people say they are put off from cycling because of the fear of car dooring, so it’s of vital importance to educate anyone who uses a car to check before opening their door.
“The Dutch Reach is such a simple technique, that if everyone learned it from a young age, it could make a real difference to safety on our roads.”
Uber is also launching a new cycle alert feature in London to inform passengers to look over their shoulder for cyclists before opening their door.
Fred Jones, head of new mobility at Uber, said: “Using a simple Dutch Reach technique can save lives and we’re proud to be working with Cycling UK to make this a habit.
“Together, we can combine education and technology to increase road safety awareness amongst the millions of people who use the Uber app across the UK.”
Continuing a fledgling partnership
Earlier this month, it was announced that Cycling UK has teamed up with Uber Eats to provide the app’s riders and couriers with road safety education.
As part of Bike Week 2019, Cycling UK produced a series of ‘digestible and engaging’ education guides and training films which have been shared with thousands of couriers delivering food purchased via the Uber Eats app.
The five videos include information on road positioning, how to approach junctions, signalling and awareness of other road users. There are also tips on how to maintain a bike.
The guides aim to educate cyclists with little or no mechanical experience on how to prepare their bike to help them ride safely, and fix basic problems they may encounter when cycling.
While watching the videos and reading the guides won’t be compulsory, all Uber Eats couriers will be strongly encouraged to review the materials as part of their ‘ongoing safety education’.