Roadway safety is a collective responsibility that’s shared by all, and drivers have a crucial role to play in preventing accidents and saving lives – and there are few things that are harder for bicyclists or motorcycle riders to anticipate than a car or truck door suddenly being pushed open directly in their path.
Unfortunately, this kind of accident is so common that it has its own name – “dooring.” At least one study indicates that it’s responsible for nearly one-fifth of all cycling injuries – and all of those accidents are entirely avoidable. What can you do to be part of the solution? One simple yet effective technique that can make a significant difference in the number of tragic dooring accidents suffered by urban riders is the “Dutch Reach.”
What is the Dutch Reach?
The Dutch Reach is a method of opening your car door using your far hand – the hand that is actually opposite from the door handle. For most people, this means using your right hand as you exit a driver-side door and your left hand if you’re exiting through a passenger-side door.
This technique basically forces drivers and passengers to reach across their chests to open the car door, obliging them to turn their upper bodies and look over their shoulders before proceeding. That can automatically help remind them to lift their eyes and look at who or what may be approaching the vehicle – including bikes and motorcycles.
Using the Dutch Reach method ensures that you open your car door more slowly and with greater control. This can give cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians more time to react and avoid a collision. It also gives those people a chance to catch your eye and make you more conscious of their presence.
Tell your family and your friends about the Dutch Reach to help with roadway safety – and insist that any passengers in your vehicle use the technique. If you or your loved ones are ever in a dooring accident, however, it’s important to seek information about your right to compensation for your losses, as you shouldn’t be required to shoulder the burdens caused by the negligence of another.