Drivers and cyclists: respect each other and share the road!
This week, Cycling UK called for wider awareness about the dangers of ‘car dooring’. In a letter to Transport Minister, Jesse Norman MP, Cycling UK Chief Executive Paul Tuohy called for a public awareness THINK campaign aimed at all car occupants, not just drivers, to look before opening their door.
Cycling UK has suggested the introduction of a method – ‘the Dutch Reach’ – where people open car doors with their far hand, rather than the near. This could prove beneficial and prevent avoidable collisions. It is common practice in the Netherlands and has the benefit of allowing the person opening their car door to look behind while also limiting how far their door can open.
At RED Driving School, we absolutely agree that drivers and cyclists should respect each other and share the road. RED is the largest trainer of driving instructors in the UK and we incorporate in our course a module called “Entering and Leaving the Vehicle”. This training is passed on to RED learners as part of the essential “cockpit drill” lesson.
Fundamentally, we are teaching learners to make thorough, all-round observations before entering or leaving a vehicle and this includes checking for approaching cyclists. We also teach and advocate leaving at least the width of a car door as a gap when passing any stationary vehicle. This same rule should also apply to cyclists passing stationary vehicles. If such a gap cannot be left due to a lack of space we say: “less space = less speed”. In other words, if a doors width cannot be left, pass the stationary vehicle more slowly.
Many cyclists of course receive no training but if they did, such teachings might make them safer on the road.