CHANGES to the Highway Code could see drivers hit with a £1,000 fine for opening their door wrong.
The new rule is aimed at protecting cyclists – and will apply to passengers as well.
Instead of using the hand nearest the door handle to get out of a car, motorists are being urged to take up a technique called the ‘Dutch Reach’.
It instructs people exiting a vehicle to reach for the handle using the arm furthest away from the door.
For example, the driver would use their left arm to open the door while a front seat passenger would use their right arm.
While doing so, the motion should act as a prompt for the person getting out of the car to turn their head and check for oncoming cyclists.
The new section under rule 239 states: “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.”
Opening a door onto a cyclist and causing injury can result in a fine up to £1,000.
Cycling UK estimates at least 500 people are injured each year in the UK by a car door being opened on to their path.
It comes as UK drivers face a £200 fine for using mobile phones at the wheel under a law change this month.
Under new legislation, drivers won’t be allowed to handle any mobile device while driving from March 25.
Texting or making phone calls while driving is already illegal, but the new rules will close grey areas when it comes to music streaming and taking photos.
A High Court judgment in 2019 ruled that a driving offence is only committed where the phone was being used to perform an “interactive communication function”.
That includes making a call or sending a text rather than a standalone function such as recording a video.