Safety plea after cyclist car door death

image source, Leicestershire Police
image captionCyclist Sam Boulton died on his 26th birthday

The family of a cyclist who died after being "car-doored" by a taxi has backed a campaign to stop others from suffering the same fate.

Teacher Sam Boulton was knocked into the path of a moving van by the taxi door in London Road, Leicester, in July 2016. He died on his 26th birthday.

Sam's father, Jeff Boulton, 52, said a Dutch safety technique which prevents "dooring" should be taught to children.

The Dutch Reach, which forces drivers and passengers to look behind them when opening a car door, should also be part of the driving test, he said.

"If you teach children to do that, it will become an automatic thing. Then, as they learn to drive, it is there. It would stop cyclists being car-doored," he said.

What is the Dutch Reach method?

media captionThis video shows how a driver would typically open a car and then the Dutch Reach method.
  • "Dooring" happens when a cyclist is struck by or swerves to avoid a car door
  • Dutch Reach, which began in the Netherlands, was a response to deaths and accidents caused by doors being suddenly opened on cyclists
  • The method means opening the door with the hand furthest from the handle
  • By doing so the driver or passenger turns their bodies to the door and then looks over their shoulder
  • In the Netherlands it is taught to children at school and is part of the driving test
image source, Dutch Reach
image captionThe Dutch Reach was developed in the Netherlands to prevent cyclists being "doored"

Campaign group Cycling UK has written to road safety minister Jesse Norman addressing the dangers of "car-dooring" and has asked for the Dutch Reach technique to be included in the driving test.

Mr Boulton added: "I just hope the government takes it up sooner rather than later."

He said there should also be harsher punishments for people guilty of hitting and endangering people when opening car doors.

Labour MP for Leicester South, Jon Ashworth, said: "If we can have a campaign up and running to explain to people by simply opening their car door in a different way - using their other hand - will improve safety immeasurably, then I think that is something we should really shout about."

However, he added that there should be more research done before he wholeheartedly supported it being made part of the driving test.

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