Uber introduces new safety function to stop cyclists being 'car doored'

1 October 2019, 09:15

By Maddie Goodfellow

Uber is introducing new life saving safety alerts to notify users when cyclists are near and remind them to take extra care opening car doors.

Uber will be using public mapping data to help keep cyclists safe on roads in and around the UK.

The ride-hailing firm will remind users to watch out for cyclists when they are in an area with a high concentration.

The decision comes after research found that 21 per cent of people usually forget to check for cyclists before opening a car door.

16 per cent of people admitted they have opened a car door in front of a cyclist.

The research also revealed that almost half of cyclists in Birmingham don’t feel safe on public roads, with two thirds saying there aren’t enough cycle lanes.

Sam Boulton died after being 'car doored' in Leicester in 2016
Sam Boulton died after being 'car doored' in Leicester in 2016. Picture: Cycling UK

The move has been welcomed by Jeff Boulton, the father of Sam Boulton, who died after being 'car doored' by a woman leaving a taxi in 2016.

Mr Boulton called the safety features a "fantastic idea"

He told Global's Newsroom: "There's thousands and thousands of people who use Uber, and if this gets people using the Dutch reach when they get out, that's fantastic."

"If this country had adopted the Dutch reach like the Dutch did 50 years ago, Sam would still be alive today."

The 'Dutch Reach' is a technique that ensures riders open the door with the hand that is furthest from the handle, forcing them to look over their shoulder for oncoming traffic

Uber passengers will now receive in-app reminders before they open their car door, a move motivated by Uber’s commitment to improving the safety of both riders and cyclists.

Every year, hundreds of cyclists across England, Wales and Scotland are injured when someone opens a car door in their path, but the actual figure is thought to be much higher as many collisions aren’t reported.

Sam's family hope the new technology will prevent other deaths
Sam's family hope the new technology will prevent other deaths. Picture: Family Photo

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 practice 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.”

Duncan Dollimore, Head of Campaigns at Cycling UK, 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.”