Cycling UK and ride-sharing firm Uber have teamed up to teach drivers and passengers the Dutch Reach technique to help prevent cyclists from being doored.
The technique encourages car occupants to use the hand furthest away from the door to open it, meaning that their body naturally twists round so they are naturally looking over their shoulder and thus able to see any cyclists approaching.
While the technique is taught in the Netherlands and elsewhere and has been covered in the press here after Cycling UK campaigned for it to be introduced to the driving test following the death of Leicester cyclist Sam Boulton, who crashed into the path of a van when a taxi passenger opened a door into his path, it is still little-known here.
A poll commissioned by the charity found that among the general population, only 12 per cent knew what it was, with 22 per cent believing it was a Dutch beer, 19 per cent a handshake and 15 per cent a yoga pose.
A 3D virtual reality film produced by Cycling UK in partnership with Uber, shot from the perspective of aa vehicle passenger, shows a collision resulting from the driver opening a door, and how using the Dutch Reach would have prevented it from happening.
The film – which you can view in the 3D version here, with the 2D version shown above, will be shared with more than 5 million users of Uber’s app in the UK, as well as its 60,000 drivers.
In London, Uber is also launching a cycle alert feature which warns passengers to look over their shoulder before they open the door of the vehicle. The alerts will use digital mapping to warn users when their drop-off point is close to a cycle lane or on a shared cycle route.
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 percent 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’s head of new mobility, Fred Jones, commented: “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.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.