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Cycling: Groups call for action on 'car-dooring'

Cycling: Groups call for action on 'car-dooring'
From BBC - September 11, 2017

A campaign to raise awareness of "car-dooring" is needed to save lives on Britain's roads, Cycling UK has said.

The campaign group says cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians are being injured and killed by drivers and their passengers carelessly opening doors.

It wants the Dutch reach - which involves opening doors with the "wrong" hand - to be taught to new drivers.

The Department for Transport says it will consider new messages on cycle safety as part of its Think! campaign.

Government figures from 2011-2015 show that eight people died from carelessly-opened car doors.

Three of these had been travelling in cars - five were cyclists knocked off their bikes.

In total 3,108 people were reported hurt but Cycling UK believes the true figure is probably much higher.

It's suggesting an information campaign, warning cyclists to ride further into the carriageway, to avoid the swing of car doors.

It also wants higher fines for careless door opening.

And it's urging ministers to have the "Dutch reach" taught in driving tests.

This manoeuvre involves the driver or passenger on the right-hand side of the car opening the door with the left hand - forcing them to turn and see if anyone's approaching.

It's a mandatory part of Dutch driving tests.

A video of the technique has been seen by more than a million people on the "Outside" magazine website.

The idea has been supported by Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite, who said: "This simple step seems like a good way of checking that a cyclist is not approaching and reducing the risk of 'dooring', particularly in a congested city."

The Department for Transport previously dismissed the proposal - but that was just after the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling was filmed having knocked a cyclist off his bike opening a car door.

Mr Grayling apologised to the cyclist who he said was not badly hurt.

'Nothing I could do'

Dramatic footage posted on YouTube shows Olukayode Ibrahim colliding with a car door in London on a Sunday afternoon in September last year.

"I was heading to work in Leicester Square. The cars on the road ahead had been stopped by a traffic light and I rode up beside them.

"All of a sudden, the passenger door of a VW Golf opened directly in front of me. There was nothing I could do but to brace for the worst as my mind almost blanked," Mr Ibrahim said.

"The impact came in seconds and resulted in me slamming into the inside of the car door while at the same time landing almost on top of the passenger who was exiting the car.

"Initially I was trapped as the brake lever punctured the upholstery of the car door and got stuck while the cleats on my pedals did not disengage immediately.

"With the help of sympathisers, I was able to free myself and my bike. The owner of the car accepted liability.

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