Check for cyclists before opening your car door, says Cycling UK

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Cycling UK is urging people to look out for cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians before opening their car doors.

It comes after figures from the Department for Transport showed that between 2011 and 2015 as many as 3,108 people were injured, eight fatally, in incidents where 'vehicle door opened or closed negligently' was recorded as a contributing factor. Of the total, 2,009 of the casualties were people cycling, with five resulting in fatalities.

On Monday, the cycling charity called for a public awareness campaign about the dangers of 'car dooring' and how to prevent it, including promotion of a door-opening technique which is common practice in the Netherlands.

With the so-called 'Dutch Reach', people open car doors with their far hand -- allowing them to look behind while also limiting how far the door can open.

Cycling UK would like to see this method taught to new drivers, as well as changes to the law to include an offence of 'death or serious injury through negligently opening a car door'. Under the current law, the offence carries a maximum penalty of £1,000 -- even if someone dies or is seriously injured as a result of the incident.

The charity also suggested that a public awareness campaign could include advice on safer road positioning for people cycling, so as to create understanding among all road users about the importance of avoiding the 'door zone'.

Paul Tuohy, Cycling UK's chief executive, said: "Some people seem to see car dooring as a bit of a joke, but it's not and can have serious consequences.

"Cycling UK wants to see greater awareness made about the dangers of opening your car door negligently, and people to be encouraged to look before they open."

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