The Dutch Reach
So, you’re headed down the road on your bike – line of cars to your right. As cyclists, we have learned to look through the rear window to see if there is a driver present, to watch the door seam for any sign of movement, check the mirror reflection … any clues that one of those doors is about to open up into your travel path. Any of those doors could become a violent stop to your forward progress without warning. Which one is it going to be today?
As riders, there is only so much we can do besides being vigilant, as visible as possible, and keeping about 3 feet away from parked vehicles. But drivers can make one very important change that can have an enormous positive effect.
The Dutch Reach
Based on a decades old method from the Netherlands, the Dutch Reach is a simple and effective change to how you open your vehicle door. Changing your habits to include these steps will prevent you from opening your door into cyclists coming at you from behind.
Instead of reaching for the door with your left hand, pulling the latch, and swinging it open…
- Check your rear view mirror
- Check your side mirror
- Turn to the left, look over your left shoulder for cyclists approaching from behind, and then OPEN THE DOOR WITH YOUR RIGHT HAND.
It’s amazingly simple, and radically improves the safety of the situation. It could be a tough habit to break – so a good idea is to tie a small piece of ribbon to your handle as a reminder.
Make The Dutch Reach part of your routine, and spread the word to friends and family. It’s easy!