For people who bike on city streets, moving cars can be pretty scary. They stop short, swerve suddenly, and make right turns at intersections. But a parked car can pose a serious threat too because that’s how cyclists get doored. What can we do about this? Leave it to the Dutch!
There’s an extremely easy way for a driver to avoid these dangerous encounters between car doors and passing bicyclists. Open the door with the right hand, rather than the left. This forces you to swivel around and give a quick rearwards glance into the traffic lane.
Some traffic safety advocates refer to the maneuver as the “Dutch Reach”, since it’s a common practice in the Netherlands. Americans are slowly getting the hang of it too, as more cyclists take the streets in major cities.
The Netherlands is known to take bike safety very seriously and has one of the lowest rates of bike fatalities in the world. To watch out for the 30 percent of commuters who pedal to work, generations of Dutch drivers have been taught to open car doors with a mindful pivot.
Below is a video to explain the “Dutch Reach” and help all of us move around our city streets more safely.