Featured Image

Road Traffic Accident

Highway Code to be reviewed to include Dutch Reach to protect cyclists

Written by Lena Farnell, Associate & Legal Change Manager

November 3, 2022

Fletchers Solicitors has welcomed the news that changes are to be made to the Highway Code to cut down on the number of injured cyclists.

The Government has announced a review of the Highway Code to help reduce road casualties and promote walking and cycling.

It is proposed that the Code will highlight the ‘Dutch Reach’ approach – a method of opening car doors by using the hand furthest away from the door. This encourages drivers and passengers to turn and look behind them for passing cyclists when opening the door.

The rise in car dooring related incidents has increased significantly over the past few years. Between 2011 and 2015 there were more than 3,000 injuries and eight fatalities.

A Senior Serious Injury Solicitor at Fletchers, said: “At Fletchers Solicitors, we have seen first-hand the devastation that ‘car dooring’ can cause to vulnerable road users. The rise in car dooring incidents has increased significantly over the past few years and we have seen a direct correlation in the rise of cycling related injury claims, which in some cases have left relatives without loved ones.

“Just last year, we settled a case that involved a retired university lecturer and much loved husband who was killed in a car dooring incident in Southport. In 2014, 76-year-old Dr Robert Hamilton was cycling when he was hit by the door of a stationary car, which was opened by a motorist who failed to check for passing cyclists first.

“Robert sustained serious head injuries and sadly he later died. The incident is just one of many cases we see that could easily have been prevented.

“We truly hope that by adding this into the Highway Code, people will become educated of the importance of looking out for cyclists, motorcyclists and other road users.

“Dooring is remarkably common but until now, it seems to have received very little attention. We need to raise awareness around the dangers of car dooring to protect cyclists and make Britain’s roads safe.”