Skoda has unveiled some new tech aimed at stopping drivers from ‘dooring’ cyclists out on the roads.
The Czech car company, which strives to build cycle-friendly vehicles, has released a new version of the Octavia with sensors that detect riders passing.
Skoda’s ‘exit warning’ function’ is designed to reduce the number of incidents of dooring – when a driver or passenger opens the vehicle door into the path of a cyclist.
Dooring is fairly common and can be very dangerous, as government statistics show that between 2011 and 2015, 3,108 people across the UK were injured as a result of dooring incidents.
A total of eight people died in that period.
A Skoda spokesperson said: “The all-new fourth-generation Octavia is the most technologically advanced ŠKODA yet and one of the most cycle-friendly cars on the market.
“Naturally cyclists face daily challenges associated with cycling on busy roads, including avoiding car doors as they open. The technology introduced in the new Octavia, particularly Exit Warning, is there to assist drivers in helping to mitigate and reduce potential accidents.”
The exit warning feature in the Octavia uses sensors to monitor the rear and sides of the vehicle when it is stationary.
When a cyclist is detected, the driver will be warned through visual warnings and a sound alert, which will work until the cyclist has passed.
But there is a way for drivers to take more care when exiting the vehicle without buying a new car.
The ‘Dutch reach’ which originated in the Netherlands, involves opening car doors with the hand furthest from the door handle, so drivers or passengers look over their shoulder to check for passing traffic.
In 2018, the government indicated that that Dutch reach would be added to the Highway Code, an announcement that was welcomed by cycling campaigners including Chris Boardman.
Rule 239 of the code says “you must ensure you do not hit anyone when you open your door. Check for cyclists or other traffic” but the Dutch reach is still not included in the guidance.