Cycling group urges ministers to crack down on 'dangerous' car-dooring

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A cycling charity has urged transport ministers to introduce a new law to crack down on the number of cyclists who are killed or injured by crashing into open car doors.

Cycling UK wrote to transport minister Jesse Norman calling for the launch of an awareness campaign to teach drivers and passengers of the dangers of opening car doors without looking first.

The group wants a new law to be introduced which would include the offence of ‘death or serious injury through negligently opening a car door’.

Currently offenders only face a maximum penalty of just £1,000, even if a cyclist is killed.

Cyclist UK: the charity warned that awareness about the dangers of hitting cyclists with car doors must be raised (PA)

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling knocked a cyclist off his bike after opening a car door outside Parliament in October last year.

And according to Department for Transport data, his was one of 3,108 incidents between 2011 and 2015 where someone was injured from a vehicle door being “opened or closed negligently”

Eight of the incidents proved fatal. Some 2,009 of the casualties were cyclists, including five of the fatalities.

But Cycling UK believed these figures are not fully representative of the scale of the problem as not all cases are attended by the police.

“Some people seem to see car dooring as a bit of a joke, but it’s not and can have serious consequences,” Paul Tuohy, Cycling UK’s chief executive, said.

“Cycling UK wants to see greater awareness made about the dangers of opening your car door negligently, and people to be encouraged to look before they open. 

“In the Netherlands they are known for practising a method, known sometimes as the Dutch Reach, which we think could be successfully encouraged in the UK.”

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The Dutch Reach involves the driver using their hand further away from the door to open it, meaning they naturally look behind them.

The group has written to the DoT requesting that this technique is promoted among learner drivers. 

It also wants the importance of safer positioning for cyclists to be promoted so all road users understand the importance of cyclists avoiding the area where doors could open into.

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