Sample Dutch Reach Letter to State or Local Officials
To: State / Municipal/ DOT/ Public Safety Officials
re: Doors are Dangerous - The Dutch Reach Countermeasure
(Our organization) wishes to bring to your attention the 'Dutch Reach' -- the far hand method which prevents drivers and passengers from dooring cyclists or endangering themselves when opening to exit.
Simply put: "Reach,Turn, Look." That is, reach over to the latch using your hand furthest from the door. This forces you to swivel, view the side-mirror and out to the side. Your can then do an easy over-the-shoulder check for oncoming bikes and vehicles, then opening slowly when safe.
It has other advantages as well. Reaching across impedes sudden, flung-wide door opening. It works for rear passengers lacking mirrors. When stepping out you naturally and more safely exit facing traffic. And with practice it becomes a habit - an automatic best practice.
Last spring, Massachusetts Dept. of Transportation added this best practice to its 2017 Driver's Manual. MassDOT promoted the Reach measure with a press release, by video and animation, and with blog and social media posts. You may view these materials below. Additional information about the far hand method, its history, endorsements, and the new campaign behind it, can be found at the Dutch Reach Project website, www.dutchreach.org
We hope (our city/traffic department/DOT)'s own road safety experts will also find the reach habit obviously wise advice worth teaching and promoting.
We would be most pleased to discuss this and other road sharing initiatives with you at your earliest convenience.
NOTE: To include attachments in your version, download or use mouse to 'Copy as image' files or images you wish to send. Clicking may first enlarge the image or lead to a linked file or webpage.
Registrar Deveney's slide set PDF may be downloaded directly here: Erin Deveney Presentation.
MassDOT's Dutch Reach Example: Links & Attachments
Dutch Reach Roll-out in Massachusetts - Links & Attachments:
Massachusetts Driver's Manual, Revised 4/2017 [4.3 Mb, pdf].
Dutch Reach advisory appears (in Chapter 4), here:The Danger of Open Doors to Bicyclists [p.109 only]
"the Dutch Reach" - MassDOT
"Dutch Reach - Scan the Streets"
MassDOT RMV: Reaching for Increased Safety*
Slide Set attached as PDF: Deveney (1) below.
Announcement of 2017 Transp. Conf. - See attached screenshot graphic below.[or see Conference website:
center.org/assnfe/ev.asp?ID=27 78 ]
MassDOT partners with the Parents' Supervised Teen Driving Program for Massachusetts which produces annually revised teen teaching curricula. Their Dec. 2017 revision also added the Dutch Reach but used somewhat different text, viz:
PSTDP - for Dutch Reach lesson see: Share the Road Part II, p. 41.:
The PSTDP advisory only is attached below.
MassDOT adds ‘Dutch Reach’ to driver’s manual
Boston Globe Dutch Reach graphic: A Safer Way to Open
Find additional information, resources & materials at:
Dutch Reach Project: www.dutchreach.org
Supplementary Text for Sample Letter
Background on Dutch method:
This far or 'opposite hand' method originated in Europe, most likely the Netherlands, about 5 decades ago. There it never had a name but was simply called 'the way you open a car door.' It is still taught by driving instructors in Holland s as the best means to pass the strict safe-exit requirement on the Dutch road test.
The practice spread informally to several nearby nations, but failed to cross oceans or even the English Channel. In the early 2010s, as bicycling and doorings increased, it was featured in several urban anti-dooring campaigns in the US, Australia and Canada. In 2016 Massachusetts physician coined the term 'Dutch Reach' and launched a campaign which have gained it recognition by cycling advocates, road safety professionals and the public.
Dooring is a daily hazard wherever cyclists ride adjacent to parked or briefly halted vehicles discharging occupants. Motorists who adopt this far safer habit reduce that risk. We believe it should be standard instruction for novice drivers, and campaigns should be mounted to retrain drivers and the general public to adopt the opposite hand habit.
For the root cause of dooring is occupant negligence: failure to look back and sudden wide opening to exit. The Dutch Reach addresses this dangerous behavior. It is applicable everywhere, by both drivers and passengers, and protects the exiting individual from harm and their vehicle as well.
Together with the 'reach', protected bike lanes, side mirrors for rear passengers, bike 'radar' or other alert systems, heightened enforcement and penalties, safe-pass practices, and dooring-defense education for cyclists, all reduce doorings.
All are needed. All take time, money and commitment. But the Dutch fix may be the quickest, easiest and least costly to roll-out. And at the same time, it raises road sharing awareness overall.
Below for your consideration are a variety of MassDOT materials promoting their Dutch Reach anti-dooring initiative. Besides press release, videos, social media and coverage, please note the slide set of a presentation by MassDOT Registrar of Motor Vehicles Erin Deveney featured the Reach at MassDOT's annual transportation conference.
We hope you find this information persuasive and hope we can discuss this and other road sharing behavioral measures to make our roads safer for everyone.
The Dutch Reach - MassDOT Video
Boston Globe Diagram
The Dutch Reach - Scan the Streets
Parent's Supervised Teen Driving Program
Concurrent Session 3Session 3G Grand Ballroom A: MEGA SESSION: Health and Safety Campaigns (M)Advancing quality of life and the health of Massachusetts residents on a statewide level involves collaboration between a variety of agencies and stakeholders. Learn about several current health and safety initiatives including: Scan the Street marketing campaign; Safe Routes to School program; Mass in Motion and Health Impact Assessment Tools; incorporating the Dutch Reach into the RMV Driver’s Manual; and Bike Safety info for J1 Visa students on Cape Cod. The Department of Public Health in collaboration with MassDOT works across these campaigns and others to support a healthier Massachusetts.
Bonnie Polin, MassDOT
Erin Deveney, MassDOT Registry of Motor Vehicles
Halley Reeves, MA Department of Public Health
Nikki Tishler, MassDOTKyle Bonus, MassRIDES
Moderator: Jeff Larason, Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
SUPPLEMENTARY ATTACHMENTS / DOCUMENTATION