POLL: Do you support new fine for opening car with wrong hand as cyclists given priority?


One of the most prominent changes will be the introduction of the “Dutch Reach”, which means when you open your car door from inside, you must use the hand furthest away from the door in order to turn your body fully and check your blind spot for passing cyclists. Breaking this rule could leave drivers with fines of up to £1,000 under Highway Code penalty rules.

Peter Lorence, a serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, explained what the Dutch Reach is and why it is being introduced. He said: “When cycling by parked vehicles, the risk of doors being opened into a cyclist’s path is a real danger and a common cause of collision.

“Previously The Highway Code had warned only for cyclists to watch out for doors being opened.

“Rule 67 has now been revised to provide guidance on the safe distance to pass parked vehicles; it now suggests leaving a door’s width or one metre when doing so.

“For those opening the doors of parked vehicles, Rule 239 has also been updated to include what is often known as the ‘Dutch Reach’.

“When you are able to do so, you should open your vehicle door using your hand on the opposite side to the door you are opening.

“For example, if you are in the right-hand seat, you would use your left hand to open the door.

“In doing so, this forces you to turn your body and your head, better enabling you to check over your shoulder and your blind spot.

“This better enables those in vehicles to check whether it is safe to open their door, reducing the chance of opening their door into someone’s path.”

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Many people, including those who have lost loved ones in accidents, feel the changes are overdue.

Injury lawyer Peter Lorence added: “These changes are largely very welcome, and we were proud to take part in the Government’s consultation.

“In preparing our consultation response, however, we reflected on our clients’ stories and how the life-changing incidents they suffered could have been easily avoided had these changes been made sooner.

“Nevertheless, we celebrate these changes which represent an important step towards eliminating deaths and serious injuries on our roads.”

Do you support the changes? Have your say in the comments section below.

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