As a way to keep cyclists safer the government are proposing a change to the highway code. Drivers will be asked to give way to cyclists and pedestrians when turning left and will also be taught to use the “Dutch reach” when opening doors.
The idea is to bring the highway code up to date and make the roads safer for everyone. The changes will be more in line with the US where pedestrians always have priority. In 2017, in the UK over 100 cyclists died on the roads.
Some people, however, say that there is not being enough done to safeguard vulnerable road users. A spokesperson said “Cycling ans walking are important to the nations health and well being, however people need to know that they are safe on the roads while they exercise. We are slowly improving the infrastructure to deal with this”
The highway code states that pedestrians have priority if they are already crossing a side road but does cover what should be done if a pedestrian is “about” to cross, i.e. walking to the edge of the kerb.
Recent research shows that most cyclists are also drivers and many drivers are also cyclists. Safety groups are trying to get rid of the “them v us” mentality when everyone is trying to achieve the same goal of getting from A to B safely.
One idea is to adopt the “Dutch reach” where drivers are encouraged to use their left hand to open the door. By doing so the driver is forced to symultaniously turn their shoulders to check their blind spot for cyclists. Another idea is for there to be a minimum distance for overtaking cyclists safely.
In some European countries motorists are expected to give 1.5m distance between themselves and any cyclist that they are passing. This rule may be reduced to 1m in urban areas such as in France.
Many driving schools in the UK already encourage learners to use a similar method to open the door and to check it’s safe before opening whether they are in the drivers seat or the passenger seat.