A big change to The Highway Code

A big change to The Highway Code

Posted by Chloe Martell on 18 October 2018

Seeing someone open their car door to have a cyclist bike into it in comedy films is great, but in real life – it’s a big problem. Many motorists forget to look out for those on their bikes, which not only causes damage to the car but can be deadly for the cyclists.

The Dutch Reach

The government has proposed a new code which will highlight the issue and hopefully reduce the casualties from it. This is called, The Dutch Reach – and it’s simple. All it is is a change in the method of how you open the door. By using the hand furthest away from the handle, you are forced to turn and look over your shoulder, and therefore should notice passing cyclists coming your way. This method should be used by drivers and passengers, as there is a similar risk for pedestrians.

Eliminating the risk

You may not realise, but there is great risk involved if you swing open your car door without checking the surrounding areas. We’ve given some examples here, of just how dangerous it can be.

  • In 2016, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling* knocked over a cyclist as he opened his car door on a busy London street.
  • - In June 2017, a Leicester Taxi Driver was fined £955 after his passenger opened the door of his cab, and hit cyclist Sam Boulton** who, as a consequence of this, was knocked into the path of a van and killed

This small change can make a big difference on the roads, keeping cyclists and pedestrians safe, and not having to worry about car doors shooting open in front on them. You wouldn’t pull out on to a road, without looking each way – would you? The same now applies for opening car doors, too.

How do you do the Dutch Reach?

It’s simple, but more importantly – effective


* https://www.theguardian.com/politics/video/2016/dec/15/transport-secretary-chris-grayling-knocks-over-cyclist-as-he-opens-his-car-door-video

** https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/sep/11/encourage-dutch-reach-to-stop-cyclists-car-door-deaths-says-charity

About the Author

Chloe Martell
Chloe Martell

'Hi I'm Chloe! I'm 21 and like a lot of people, I'm still in the process of learning to drive. I've recently graduated with a Photography degree - this is a huge passion of mine. I also have a slight obsession with constantly changing my hair colour!'