The Dutch Reach Can Save Lives

Anyone who has ever biked along a row of parked cars has one serious dread – crashing into an opening car door. Getting ‘doored’ is bad news for both the cyclist and the driver. But one simple change in the driver’s behaviour can dramatically cut the risk of this happening.

It’s being called the ‘Dutch Reach’ due to the fact that it has been a regular move taught to drivers in the Netherlands for decades. The Dutch have an enormous cycling culture, so it should be no surprise they’d be the ones to introduce it to the world.

The move is really quite simple. After parking your car, instead of using your door-side (left) arm, you reach over with your other (right) arm to open the door. This shift in position causes you to naturally look back and see whether or not there are cyclists coming up behind you.

The statistics for Vancouver show that 1 in 7 bike crashes in the city are caused by getting ‘doored’, as many as two every week. Getting doored can result in serious injury or death to the cyclist. All it takes is a little dose of the Dutch Reach to eliminate getting doored.

For more information

  • Car door killers: Campaign tries to make a dent in cyclist doorings, CBC British Columbia
  • Safety campaign aims to help drivers avoid “dooring” people on bikes, Bike HUB
  • Kelowna cyclist mourned after fatal crash into car door, CBC British Columbia

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Nicole Kelly
Nicole joined Slater Vecchio in May 2010. She has been involved with personal injury files arising out of motor vehicle accidents, sports and recreation and occupier's liability.