If you have ever ridden your bicycle in an urban rush area, you would know about the dangers involved. You are always inches away from being knocked over by some reckless driver. A major problem that cyclists face is that of ‘ open car doors.’ At any moment, some parked car driver could open their door, and any incoming cyclists would be at the risk of being hit by it.
The record of such accidents is not very well-kept, but according to Illinois Department of Transportation data from 2011, one out of five car crashes are caused by the same reason.
The drivers in Netherlands use a very simple practice, which is known as the ‘Dutch Reach.’ A parked car driver does not use their left hand to open the car door. The driver instead turns around to look over their shoulder to see any incoming bikers.
This habit in the Dutch children is not only instilled by their parents and teachers but is also included in their driving tests. US citizens are also beginning to use the same practice while opening their car doors. One major reason for this is Micheal Charney, who created a website called dutchreach.org, to raise awareness about this issue, after a woman named Amanda Phillips was killed in such an accident. The site provides all kinds of resources about cycling safety while focusing on ways to promote the ‘Dutch Reach.’ Other groups that advocate cycling are also spreading awareness about the same thing through their platforms.
The best way to ensure the safety of cyclists is to build protected cycling paths. This is being done in some US cities like Minneapolis, but a complete infrastructure change is required to create such tracks throughout.
You can watch this video to see how the Dutch open their doors.
We would like to know your thoughts on the ‘Dutch Reach’ practice. Comment below!