The Life-Saving ‘Dutch Reach’ Comes to American Driver’s Ed - City Lab
For people who bike on city streets, moving cars are pretty scary: They stop short, swerve suddenly, and make right-hook turns at intersections. But parked cars pose a serious threat, too, because that’s how cyclists get doored.
There’s an extremely easy way for a driver to mitigate these dreaded encounters between car doors and passing bicyclists: Open the door with the right hand, rather than the left, which forces the driver to swivel around and give a quick rearwards glance into the traffic lane.
Some traffic safety advocates refer to the maneuver as the “Right Hand Reach.” Michael Charney, a retired doctor in Massachusetts who has perhaps become the technique’s top evangelist,
popularized the term “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. Starting in January, a number of organizations, including AAA and the National Safety Council, will teach the reach to both driver-side and passenger-side vehicle users in a range of traffic safety courses, the New York Times recently reported.