Car drivers and their passengers are being urged to look out for cyclists before opening the doors of their vehicles.
Cycling UK says the dangers of so called ‘car dooring’ need to be better understood after figures showed that over 2000 cyclists were injured and five were killed in a recent four year period where the opening or closing of a vehicle door was a contributory factor.
The campaign group believes that the figures do not represent the full scale of the problem as not all incidents are reported to police.
Its chief executive Paul Tuohy has written to Transport Minister Jesse Norman calling for a public awareness THINK! campaign to encourage all car occupants, not just drivers, to look before opening their door.
It claims that the offence of ‘car dooring’ is only punishable by a fine of up to £1000 and no penalty points can be imposed on the offender’s licence.
The group also says that a method where people open car doors with their far hand – rather than the near – could prove beneficial and prevent avoidable collisions. Known as ‘the Dutch Reach’ 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.
The cycling group has also suggested a public awareness campaign could include advice on safer road positioning for people cycling.
Paul Tuohy said: “We want to see greater awareness made about the dangers of opening your car door negligently, and people to be encouraged to look before they open.”
Motoring group the AA welcomed the call to raise awareness of the issue. “But just as we always tell drivers to expect the unexpected, cyclists ought to expect the same,” a spokesman said.
The Department for Transport said in a statement that it will continue to work with the THINK! team to consider further cycle safety messages. A spokesman said: “Britain has some of the safest roads in the world and we are determined to keep all road users safe, including cyclists.”