letter to schools about the Dutch reach

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  • Since the start of the school term I've nearly been 'doored' a few times outside a local school on my commute route, and I know a few others on the commute thread have had similar close calls.

    I've penned a draft letter which I'm planning on sending to the local school which I thought I'd share and get some feedback on before I send it out.
    perhaps it can be used as a template for others to send to local schools as well?


    I was wondering if it would be possible for the school to engage with pupils about the danger to cyclists, car users and pedestrians of exiting vehicles without looking before opening doors.

    I've had a few near misses since the beginning of term where pupils have been dropped off outside the school, quite often on the zig-zag lines at the pedestrian crossing when the lights are red, without checking if it is safe to open their doors beforehand.

    Hopefully you are aware of the recent changes to the highway code which encourage use of the 'Dutch reach' when exiting vehicles? If not, here is a link to a short video explaining the dangers of opening car doors and the technique which helps avoid these dangers.


    Perhaps it could be played to pupils during form time?

    While the responsibility ultimately lies with the driver, I feel that reaching out to the pupils directly might have more impact than contacting parents / carers.

    I know many of your pupils cycle to school, and hopefully as a school you want to encourage safe, active travel.


  • How about riding away from dooring range?

  • do you mean instead of raising awareness about dooring?

  • Do both

  • send it but expect zero change, parents at school time turn into zombies and the last thing on their mind is other people outside their little parenting/children bubble.

    reminds me of a ride on my strava that was later than usual and involved south london at 3:30-4:00pm i gave it the title ‘Mumsy people carrier of death’ and vowed never to cycle in built up areas at that time again.

  • obviously I ride out of door range, but when there's a heavy queue of cars at school drop off time, with oncoming traffic in the opposite carriageway, and a filter lane on the inside, then I feel like it's justifiable to send a letter to the school to remind people not to open car doors without looking, or even thinking about it.

  • I realise it's likely to have fuck all impact, but maybe if they were able to show the 2 minute film to the kids then it might make some of them think about their actions?

  • Admirable to try action like this. School run is only second to the work rush, I try to avoid both as @ Mr_smyth says; people's personality changes at those times. Fuck being door'd too. Good luck.

  • Hopefully, i’m of that age where we were shown films in school of kids losing their legs on train tracks and drowning in slurry pits. stopped me from trespassing on the railway and jumping into cow shit.

  • "Robbie still keeps his boots, nobody knows why, not even Robbie..."

  • How about referring to the relevant law?

    No person shall open, or cause or permit to be opened, any door of a vehicle on a road so as to injure or endanger any person.


    In the case of children exiting cars, permit clearly puts the responsibility on the driver to make sure they do it safely.

  • The problem is many parents believe having a child is a permit to drive like a twat. Hence the correlation between shit driving and “child on board” stickers which usually lead me to expect the car is driven by someone behaving like a spoiled entitled brat.

  • good point, have added to the letter

  • I think it's a good idea - if there are plenty of kids cycling to school it might make the staff consider their pupils' safety and take some action.

    I have a feeling as mentioned above, parents won't take any notice of a letter, but if the video was shown directly to the kids it could stick.

    I'd keep the letter focussed - not mention anything other than showing the video to the kids, and avoid mentioning the parents altogether.

    Fingers crossed you get some positive response.

  • Also teaching people about riding away from dooring range is obviously very important, but here it just shifts the onus away from people needing to exit cars safely - 'if the cyclists are cycling safely like they should, I don't need to change my behaviour'.

    I'd keep this letter focussed just on the Dutch reach.

  • yes, I think you're possibly right about parents ignoring or missing any info. I must admit, I mostly don't read the weekly email newsletter sent out by our kids school, and when I do I usually skim read.
    I'll re-word the opening paragraph.

  • agreed. also, most of the incidents I've had are while filtering on the inside.

  • correlation between shit driving and “child on board” stickers

    In my household we also have a prejudice against any car with a yellow Arnold Clark sticker. Seems to hold true.

    Re: baby on 'board':


  • Change form time to assembly.
    Remove the law bit, they arent aiming to cause harm like that law is worded. Maybe just the clause and not the actual syntax.

  • the law bit is more aimed at the team in charge who receive the letter/email, I'm not expecting that to be passed on to the pupils.

    as it's a large secondary school (approx 1600 pupils) I'm not sure they have whole school assemblies, but I would imagine they do have screens in all of the form rooms.

  • The latest one I’ve noticed is 3D license plates- if a driver’s got those there’s a v v high chance they’re a douche

  • See also debadged Audis. But that has always been the case

  • letter submitted - i've updated the first post with the final version.

    I'll update here if i receive a response.

  • They will have key stage assemblies, 7-9, 10-12(maybe just 11)
    Although, my high school has weire tiered form groups. A handfuk if kids from every year including upper sixth. Proper weird.

    You miss my point about including THE LAW!!! Its kinda sledgehammer to a nut.
    They arent breaking that law, one could argue that law implies intent. Very accusatory imo.

    I wish you the best of luck, but really nothing has happened to you, certainly none of the kids and you may just be pissing in the wind. Maybe knock a few kids off first? As others have said, you could just ride a bit further away and the reply from the school will probably be likewise.

    Quick footnote, Im not against you but a Devils Advocate is always helpful

  • As others have said, you could just ride a bit further away and the reply from the school will probably be likewise

    Although good practice, its not always possible is it. Especially on narrow / busy roads. Bit of a flippant suggestion and is pushing the responsibility to the victim, in the case of a dooring imo.

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letter to schools about the Dutch reach

Posted by Avatar for bigshape @bigshape