Uber to warn users to check for cyclists before opening car doors
By Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent
Uber is introducing a new safety feature that will warn users to look out for cyclists when opening a car door in areas popular with those on bikes.
The riding hailing app said the new tool will use publicly available mapping data alongside an Uber user's journey to send a reminder before they are dropped off near a cycle lane, shared cycle route or other areas commonly used by cyclists.
The reminders will reference the "Dutch Reach technique", which encourages users to open a car door with the hand that is furthest away from the door handle, forcing them to look over their shoulder for oncoming traffic.
The technique was first promoted earlier this year as a safe way to avoid injuring cyclists when opening doors.
Research carried out by the ride-sharing service found that 16% of people have opened a car door in front of a cyclist before.
Fred Jones, head of new mobility at Uber, said: "By the end of October, more than five million alerts will have gone to Uber passengers across the UK, encouraging them to use the Dutch Reach technique.
"By cleverly combining data and education, we hope that more passengers will practise caution around cyclists, and ultimately improve the safety on our roads. Whether you're an Uber passenger or a cyclist we want to help you get there safely."
The new feature has also been backed by cycling charity Cycling UK.
Head of campaigns Duncan Dollimore said: "It's vitally important to educate anyone who uses a car to check before opening their door as every year around 60 cyclists are killed or seriously injured by car dooring incidents. It's also one of the reasons people tell us puts them off from cycling.
"That's why we were particularly pleased to be awarded the BikeBiz Cycle Advocacy Award for our Dutch Reach campaign.
"The Dutch Reach is a simple technique that few people use but could make a real difference to the number of collisions in the UK, and combined with Uber's alert to passengers, encouraging them to look over their shoulders before opening their door, it should mean our roads are becoming safer for cyclists everywhere."