News

Motorists encouraged to 'go dutch'

Road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist welcomes the Department for Transport announcement that vehicle drivers and passengers will soon be encouraged to use the 'Dutch reach' when opening doors from the inside.

Road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist welcomes the Department for Transport announcement that vehicle drivers and passengers will soon be encouraged to use the 'Dutch reach' when opening doors from the inside.

Pioneered in the Netherlands, the Dutch reach is a method of opening a car door with the left hand (right hand for nearside passengers) when preparing to get out of a vehicle. This requires them to look over their shoulder, meaning they are far more likely to see any approaching cyclist – and can therefore delay opening the car door until after the cyclist has gone past.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth commented, 'We support the introduction of the Dutch reach. After all, cyclists are vulnerable, and we welcome this move to provide them with better protection. For drivers and their passengers it's a small and simple change, but it could make a big difference for the safety of cyclists who might be riding past.

'We also welcome the DfT's announcement of new Highway Code guidance for drivers to give more room when overtaking cyclists.'

Neil Worth believes an initiative like this has the added benefit of bringing road users together, something GEM has always supported. 'It's worth remembering that we all set out on journeys with the hope and expectation of arriving safely at our destination,' he added . 'If asked, I'm sure no one would say they wanted to obstruct anyone else or put them at greater risk.

'By implementing the Dutch reach we are making a positive move to reduce risk, and that's sure to bring a range of additional road safety benefits as we take steps to look out for each other.'

Rebecca Ashton, head of policy and research from IAM RoadSmart said, 'For us it's all about segregation, and safe streets for cycling and walking if you want to get cycle usage to really take off.

'IAM RoadSmart has long said that if the Government is serious about wanting to increase the uptake of cycling and reduce the numbers of people killed and seriously injured on our roads, there has to be a long-term approach to a comprehensive cycle path network and it's good to see the announcement of a £3m contract with Sustrans which is a step towards that goal.'



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