Would You Use “The Dutch Reach”?

Dutch Reach

A politician from the Toronto area has proposed a rather unique way to prevent cyclists or pedestrians from getting hit by wayward car doors opening on them when they pass by parked vehicles: The Dutch Reach

The ‘reach’ was named for a method by drivers exiting their vehicles in the Netherland starting in the 1970s. The driver would use the hand furthest from the door to open it, which instinctively allows the driver to look out the window to see if a pedestrian or cyclist is passing by.

Toronto area MPP Marit Stiles recently introduced private members legislation, called Bill 89, Teach the Reach Act, in order to start teaching the Dutch Reach method by put in drivers training manuals and taught in drivers education courses.

Besides the Netherlands, the Dutch Reach has recently been adopted in U.S states such as Massachusetts and Illinois.

According to Stiles’ bill the “Dutch reach method” means, with respect to a vehicle that is parallel parked on a highway, a method of opening a door to the vehicle that is used by a person inside the vehicle to exit the vehicle in order to reduce the risk of injuring a bicyclist approaching the vehicle from behind.

The Dutch Reach consists of the following steps, or a variation of the following steps:

    1.  The person checks the rear-view mirror and the side-view mirror for oncoming traffic.

    2.  The person uses his or her hand that is the farthest from the door and reaches across his or her body to place the hand on the door handle.

    3.  The person opens the door sufficiently to look in the direction of the oncoming traffic and check one more time for oncoming traffic. 

    4.  The person opens the door completely and exits the vehicle.

Below is a demonstration video:

For more information on this private members bill about the Dutch Reach, click here.