Drivers issued urgent warning of £1,000 fine for leaving their car in the wrong way

A driver opening a car door on a cyclist

Experts are urging drivers to utilise the Dutch reach method

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 03/10/2023

- 11:40

The Highway Code urges motorists to use the 'simple habit' to protect other road users

An expert is urging drivers to adopt a new technique when in the car to help them protect cyclists or they could be hit with a fine.

Following a massive overhaul of the Highway Code in January 2022, new guidance was given to motorists, urging them to protect other road users.

A famous technique called the “Dutch reach” is now encouraged by the Highway Code when someone is exiting a vehicle.

It instructs drivers and passengers to use their opposite hand to open the door, like using their left hand to open a door on the right-hand side.

WATCH NOW: Important Highway Code changes

This forces drivers to shift their body and turn their head, giving them a better view over their shoulder and out the back window.

With this expanded view, they can see any oncoming vehicle traffic, cyclists riding past and pedestrians walking by the car.

The Highway Code states that this will reduce the risk for people cycling or riding a motorcycle passing on the road and people on the pavement.

One expert is calling on motorists to adopt the Dutch reach method as it gives them a 270-degree angle to avoid “dooring” someone else.

Bob Coupland, partner from Cycle SOS, has urged drivers to use “simple habit” to reduce unnecessary cyclist accidents.

He said: “Dooring accidents occur when somebody opens a vehicle door into the path of a cyclist, causing them to face the impact of the door or react by dangerously swerving out of the way.

“Dooring accidents are becoming a growing concern for many cyclists, and rightly so.

“They can cause serious danger to the cyclists by even making them flip over the car door and land on the ground.”

According to research from the AA, an estimated 700 cyclists are killed by car doors every year.

Bob Coupland clarified that a driver would not be fined if they didn't use the Dutch reach method, but could be fined if they cause life-threatening injuries by opening the car door.

Motorists could be held liable for any damages caused by accident, potentially resulting in a £1,000 fine.

If a driver does not check their surroundings before opening the car door, this can be classed as negligent behaviour, making them liable for damages.

The expert continued, saying: “However, the cyclist may be held responsible if they haven’t exercised caution to avoid a potential collision.

“If you are a cyclist who has been involved in a dooring accident and experienced physical injuries, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.


A car overtaking a cyclist

The Highway Code changes were introduced in January 2022


“To make sure you make the best claim, it’s important to cycle with caution and safety so you are not held responsible.”

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