WHAT CYCLING ORGANIZATIONS CAN DO TO PROMOTE THE DUTCH REACH
Bicycling and road safety groups and organizations can readily incorporate Dutch Reach education and advocacy into their on-going bike & road safety mission. Reforming drivers' and passengers' faulty near-hand exiting habit is an essential part of dooring prevention. Below you will find examples of what some cycling, bike-walk and general road safety organizations are already doing.
The Bicycle Network - Australia
Together we can focus attention on dooring and establish effective prevention
Victoria’s road authority, VicRoads, advises drivers:
1. Get into the habit of always using your mirrors and doing a head check before opening your car door (one way to do this is to open the car door with your left hand)
2. Reach for the door handle with the left (inside) hand. This will twist your body slightly and make checking easier.
3. Open the door a little and look back up the road for bikes and other vehicles.
4. If clear get out of the vehicle and cross to the footpath at the rear of the car so you have a view of traffic approaching from behind.
5. Don’t be distracted by using your mobile phone.
The second recommendation above is also known as the Dutch Reach and its promotion has an advocacy movement of its own. You can read more about it at the Dutch Reach Project.
Passengers should also use the Dutch Reach, opening with their inside hand, to look before opening as well.
Cycling UK has been spear-heading a national campaign for dooring prevention in Great Britain for many years. It added the Dutch Reach to its road safety agenda in February of 2017. Seven months later, together with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Cycling UK has made adoption of the 'Reach' a national issue. Here are examples of their campaign:
San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
San Francisco Bicycle Coalition's promotion of the far hand method pre-dates the Dutch Reach Project. Consulting to the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Authority, SFBC added the opposite hand opening technique into SFMTA's Large Urban Vehicle Driver Safety program and video in 2015. Likewise, as a consultant to Uber-SF, the maneuver again appears in Uber's training video Sharing the Road with Bicycles (2016). Now SFBC promotes it by the moniker 'Dutch Reach' here on its website:
League of American Bicyclists - USA
The League of American Bicyclists, the national educational and advocacy organization for cyclists in the U.S. supports inclusion of the Dutch Reach in state driver's manuals, and encourages state bike groups to campaign for its use by the motoring public and promote it to local and state transportation departments:
BICYCLE FRIENDLY STATE
New Jersey Bicycle & Pedestrian Resource Center
New Jersey Bicycle & Pedestrian Resource Center reviews & recommends the Dutch Far-Hand 'dooring' countermeasure in this review article on its website: Home » Blog » Bicycle and Pedestrian Policy »
Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents - UK`
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) - Britain's foremost road safety and accident prevention organization - recognized the Dutch Reach in early February 2017 with this best practice advisory:
What is the Dutch Reach?
The Dutch Reach is a practice for drivers and passengers where, rather than using your hand closest to the door to open it, you use your far hand1. This choice sets off a series of five linked actions: reach, swivel, look back, open slowly, and then exit facing traffic. This practice requires you to reach across your chest to open the door, forcing you to swivel your upper torso. This enables you to look in the rear-view mirror, out to the side, and then look over your shoulder to see any oncoming traffic. You can then look back through the window and begin to open the door, which allows a continuous view of oncoming traffic while preparing to exit, opening the door and stepping out2.
This practice can help to avoid collisions, often referred to as 'doorings' or being 'doored'. Dooring is defined as when a driver or passenger opens a vehicle door into the path of oncoming traffic, resulting in a collision or avoidance manoeuvres, such as swerving or braking, which may also result in injury or even death3.
The Dutch Reach method can also protect drivers and passengers themselves from being struck by an oncoming vehicle, as well as reducing the risk that their car door could be damaged or torn off by a passing vehicle.
Tips for drivers
- Check your rear-view mirror and side-view mirror before opening your car door with your far-side hand. The ‘Dutch Reach’ forces your body to turn, making it a habit to look for cyclists.
- Open your door slowly at first, do not fling it open3.
In September 2017, RoSPA launched a national campaign against dooring centered on the Dutch Reach method. A press release stimulated print and web coverage across the UK. It was accompanied by this video featuring a Dutch driving instructor who demonstrated the teaching:
New York Bicycle Coalition
New York Bicycle Coalition joined the Dutch Reach campaign in the summer of 2017 and made two significant contributions: Together with the City of Albany and NYS Governor's Traffic Safety Commission, they produced an excellent video for police training and driver education. Shortly after NYBC designed a candidate 'universal' graphic suitable for window decals and road signage to cue and teach the Dutch Reach..