New Highway Code rule will fine drivers £1,000 for opening door with wrong hand
The Highway Code revision comes into effect at the end of the month
A new Highway Code rule could see drivers fined £1,000 if they open their car door with the wrong hand.
The “Dutch reach” dictates that drivers use the hand furthest from the door to open it, with the general belief being that it ensures cyclists are not injured. Therefore, those sitting behind the wheel are required to use their left hand, and passengers use their right.
Motorists and passengers must follow the new rules as campaign group Cycling UK estimates that up to 500 people are injured in related accidents a year in the UK.
The general idea is that by using the hand furthest away from the handle, the person is forced to shift their body and check over their shoulder as they exit the vehicle. Ultimately, any cyclists or pedestrians approaching the vehicle would be spotted.
Under the new changes to the Highway Code, a new section under rule 239 reads: “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.
“This will make you turn your head to look over your shoulder.
“You are then more likely to avoid causing injury to cyclists or motorcyclists passing you on the road, or to people on the pavement.”
If you do not follow the rules and then injure someone, you could face fines of up to £1,000. However, no penalty points will be added to your license.
While Cycling UK has pushed for the rule change, an accident from 2016 also shed light on the issue. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling was caught knocking off a cyclist when opening his car door in Whitehall, sparking a nationwide debate.
The rule change will officially be implemented Saturday, January 29.
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