LETTERS SENT RE: MISUSE OF TERM "DUTCH REACH" BY CAMBRIDGESHIRE CONSTABULARY AS REPRESENTED IN PRESS & VIDEO.
LETTER SENT BY DUTCH REACH PROJECT TO THE EDITORS OF ROAD.CC ON 12 FEB., 2017:
To the Editors & Alex Bowden,
Thank you for responding to the tabloids' degrading of the NL far hand reach. [link added for clarity - ed.]
I sent the email below to Chief Constable Alec Wood of Cambridgeshire Constabulary today. In it I raise my concern regarding the alleged Camb'shire method, and ask for clarification and a public statement to help correct the record.
I requested that he disassociate the alleged Cambridgeshire "lean out window" method from the RoSPA approved NL method which is properly the "Dutch Reach." I first read about and viewed the "dodgy video" of unclear provenance in Cambridge News UK. I could not tell if it was responsible journalism or a prank. Would that I knew the back story here. Perhaps you have colleagues in Cambridge who might investigate further?
I sent the following email 2/12/17, using the Contact Complaint Form at:
I will keep you appraised of any response should I receive one.
Should you wish to contact Constable Wood by this or other means, please see:
To contact the constabulary from outside the UK, dial:
Alternative contact details
Mon - Fri; 8am - 4pm
Thank you for your continued interest and assistance in advancing road safety and the Dutch method.
Dutch Reach Project
LETTER SENT TO CHIEF CONSTABLE ALEC WOOD ON 12 FEB., 2017:
re: "Dutch Reach" method as portrayed in UK Cambridge News 9 Feb.*; Daily Mail, UK 10 Feb.**
Dear Chief Constable Alec Wood,
I write to you as coiner of the term "Dutch Reach" [also see here & here.- ed.] and principal proponent of its adoption internationally. My website platform for this is Dutch Reach Project, www.dutchreach.org.
I am deeply concerned that the Cambridgeshire Constabulary has apparently - if internet press reports are to be believed - chosen to conflate a ‘lean out of the window ‘ method with the “Dutch Reach”.
I hope this is not the case, and respectfully beg clarification from you on this matter.
As you know the Dutch Reach has been recently recommended by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents UK (RoSPA).
But you may not know that the Dutch Reach Project coined the term last year, and that the Netherlands, by law, code instruction and commonsense, has practiced the method for 50 years, and includes it on the driver licensing road test.
The 'open window lean out' is not recognized by these three entities as part of their recommended far hand method.
RoSPA issued its expert finding on the "Dutch Reach" on 1 Feb. 2017.
safety/advice/pedal-cyclists/ sharing-the-road-together- drivers-cyclists/dutch-reach/
As defined by RoSPA, the Dutch Reach does not involve reaching out an opened window. That Cambridgeshire Constabulary chooses to offer an alternative, possibly superior method, is commendable.
But should it not rise and fall on its own merits, known by its own name?
Please, if this is Cambridgeshire’s doing, do not ride up upon or pull down the Dutch Reach when promoting the lean-out method.
I sincerely request that you and the Constabulary take rapid and appropriate steps to make clear this distinction publicly clear:
Do call yours the “Cambridgeshire Lean Out” if you will – but please disassociate that method from the Dutch Reach proper.
A public announcement and press release is in order, yes?
I look forward to resolving this matter as expeditiously as possible for the greater benefit of public safety, and of course to extricate our organizations and our respective methods from undue disrespect and confusion.
May we take advantage of the controversy now to further the public good!
Michael L. Charney, MD (retired)
Dutch Reach Project
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
[cc's sent to RoSPA Road Safety section head, & to Dr. Anne Lusk, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health].
P.S. How safe or practical is the 'lean out' method? Questions raised by:
Dr. Anne Lusk on initial review of the 'lean out' method provided the following comment, reproduced with her permission:
Opening the car window and then using the door handle. Amazing! But when do you close the window? Normally, you would have turned off the car and taken the key before reaching for the car door? Do you remain in your seat with the engine running, open the window, open the door from the outside, leave the door opened, close the window, and then turn off the ignition? That sounds like too many steps for compliance. Even with parking a bike, the Dutch count the steps. Too many steps and the bike parking is considered inferior. If this was the practice 50 years ago, then the windows had crank handles.
Anne Lusk, Ph.D. Research Scientist
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health
More concerns: Other bicycle safety advocates contacted by Dr. Charney, provided the following list of potential drawbacks for the 'lean out' method:
# cold or inclement weather would deter regular usage
# delays to open & close windows impose loss of awareness, obstruction if door still open
# the contortion of leaning out, rather than looking back through a partially opened door, deters universal usage
# possible risk for beheading/smash-ups
# seems not vetted by accredited safety professionals eg. RoSPA.
References *, **
* City leaders and police urge drivers to deploy 'Dutch Reach' to improve safety for cyclists, by Raymond Brown, 9 Feb, 2017:
** It’s just Double Dutch! Motorists ridiculue [sic] police proposal ...
by Emily Chan, Daily Mail Online, UK Feb 10, 2017