Cycling safety groups are calling for action to tackle the dangers associated with so-called ‘car dooring’ incidents.
Cycling UK says a campaign is needed to raise awareness of the thousands of cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians who are injured by drivers who carelessly open their car doors and hit them.
Government figures show that 3,108 people are reported to have been injured from car dooring between 2011 and 2015, with eight people sustaining fatal injuries.
However, Cycling UK believes the injury figures could be significantly higher with many cases going unreported.
Cycling UK’s chief executive, Paul Tuohy, said: “Some people seem to see car dooring as a bit of a joke, but it’s not and can have serious consequences.”
Mr Tuohy says the charity “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”.
Campaigners are calling on the British government to make the “Dutch reach” manoeuvre mandatory in driving tests.
This involves using the hand farthest away to open the driver door, forcing the body to turn and see whether anyone is near approaching. The move is a legal part of driving tests in the Netherlands.
The Department for Transport has previously dismissed proposals to introduce the manoeuvre within the UK’s practical test. In December 2016, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling knocked cyclist Jaiqi Liu off his bike outside Parliament.
A spokesman for the minister called it an “unfortunate accident”.
The bike charity is hoping Jesse Norman – Grayling’s successor who was made Transport Secretary in June 2017 – will take another look at protections for cyclists and road users.
Cycling UK says current penalties do not reflect the seriousness of the offence and consequences. Car dooring carries a maximum fine of £1,000 – even if the injuries sustained prove to be fatal.
Reference: The Guardian
Date Published: October 1, 2017
Author: Jonathan Brown