From the 29th January, subject to Parliamentary approval, a new rule in the Highway Code will see drivers fined £1,000 if they open the door with the wrong hand, as the Highway Code is updated.
Under changes to the Highway Code, the new section under rule 239 will now read: “Where you are able to do so, you should open the door using your hand on the opposite side to the door you are opening; for example, use your left hand to open a door on your right-hand side.
The ‘Dutch Reach’ requires drivers to use the hand furthest from the door to open it. This term comes from the Netherlands, where it has always been used as standard for exiting a vehicle.
The aim is to ensure cyclists are not injured, as opening the door with the hand furthest away prompts the driver to turn their body towards the door and look over their shoulder as they exit the vehicle.
Those sitting behind the wheel are required to use their left hand, while passengers would use their right.
Campaign group Cycling UK estimates opening car doors can injure up to 500 people every year in the UK.
If you injure someone by opening your door you can be punished by a fine of up to £1,000.
At OGR Stock Denton we are dealing with an increase in accidents involving cyclists who invariably suffer nasty and potentially life changing injuries. Hopefully this new rule will help to avoid this type of accident even if it will take some getting used to!
To make an appointment to discuss any aspect of Motoring Law or Road Traffic Offences please send us an email or phone 020 8349 0321.