Why is Cycling UK going to the British Grand Prix?

That's not a bike, that's a car!
The British Grand Prix is the ideal opportunity to showcase Cycling UK's latest driver education campaign The Dutch Reach to drivers and car users. Cycling UK campaigner Keir Gallagher explains why the team is attending the race.

Although technologically advanced carbon frames and electronic groupsets continue to boost the performance of top of the range road bikes, they’re certainly still some way off from competing with the likes of Lewis Hamilton. And, no, our staff’s vast combined experience of fixing punctures hasn’t been called on to help out in the pits.

Instead, Cycling UK is teaming up with Highways England and heading off to Silverstone this weekend to speak to a new audience, one which is unlikely to be reading the next edition of Cycle (although that’s not to suggest you can’t be into both cars and cycling).

We certainly wouldn’t be averse to any keen cyclists amongst the car-loving crowd joining Cycling UK, we’re not going there to promote membership. Instead, the 300,000+ audience, which will descend on the circuit over the weekend, offers an ideal opportunity to showcase our latest driver education campaign to drivers and car users more generally.

We’ve been kindly invited along by Highways England who, with help from police, will be running their own educational interventions, demonstrating safe overtaking distances when passing a cyclist (using a Cycling UK close pass mat). To complement this, we’ll be taking along our virtual reality headsets to showcase our latest educational film which teaches drivers to use the ‘Dutch Reach’.

The Dutch Reach is a simple change of habit to help you open a car door safely. Instead of using the hand closest to the door, it means reaching across with the hand furthest from the door - your left hand if you're the driver. This naturally turns your body towards the window, helping you spot approaching cyclists, and is a simple solution to the prevalent problem of car-dooring, which causes at least 500 collisions a year.

Just over two weeks ago, we launched a new campaign to teach the technique to as many people as possible, including the VR film which will be on display this weekend.

The initial response has been fantastic – with over 100,000 views of the 2D version of the film in the first week, and a reach of over 250,000. Much of this was down to you, with over 1500 organic shares ensuring the video reached a wide audience beyond our own membership who (we hope) are good at remembering to look for passing cyclists when getting out of vehicles on the road.

So, while we’re still asking for anyone who wants to help end car-dooring to be a Dutch Reach Hero and share the video far and wide - at work, with friends and with family - we’re well aware that we also need to lead by example, which is exactly what we’ll be doing this weekend, showing our virtual reality films on the Dutch Reach - and close overtaking - to the crowd at Silverstone.

The event provides a perfect opportunity to connect with a wider audience, developing further our award-winning educational road safety work, which has built partnerships with police, learner driver resources, and ride sharing app Uber to lead the way on driver education regarding cyclists.

We’ll be sure to update you on how it goes (keep an eye on social media over the weekend) but, in the meantime, we’ll be enjoying the coming together of the world’s oldest cycling club and oldest race in the Formula One calendar, and helping to tackle car-dooring while we’re at it – just don’t ask us how you do the Dutch Reach when getting out of an F1 cockpit!