PRIOR ‘REACH’ REPORTS & PRACTICE

The Dutch advanced the far hand method as a commonsense best practice fifty years ago to prevent doorings.  This innovation likely occurred due to the Stop de Kindermoord parent protests against road traffic carnage in the early 1970's.

It is still often taught there for the official NL licensing road test, though its use is longer as widespread nor needed.  For in Holland is now one of the safest places to walk, bike or drive.  40% of the Dutch uses bicycles and their entire road sharing culture and infrastructure is very advanced, and always getting better.

Elsewhere in Europe  -- likely for decades as well -- the far hand reach has also been practiced, though to an unknown extent. It seems certain though to be popular in Denmark, Sweden and Belgium, and to a lesser extent in France and Germany.  Whether any of these countries recommended or promoted its use official, and whether it spread from NL or was independently recognized, is obscure - at least to this author. [Informed knowledge on these questions is most welcome! If you know better, please Contact!]

Its use or even significant awareness or promotion of the method beyond mainland Europe prior to 2011 however, is as yet unknown to this Project. 

This decade however the cities of Chicago, IL; San Francisco, CA; New Haven, CT; & Fort Collins, CO began introducing it via official channels.  Likewise the City of Melbourne & its parent state Victoria, Australia where that state's transportation agency, VicRoads modestly promoted its use in a tip sheet to drivers. This decade also, cycling and road safety advocates in Toronto and Montreal have called for its adoption.  This list is likely incomplete, but it appears safe to say that few if any jurisdictions outside of Europe had previously promoted the far hand method to any significant extent.  

For more on these and other pre- Dutch Reach Project anti- dooring efforts, see: Anti-dooring Campaigns

The Dutch Way: Bicycles and Fresh Bread, by Russell Shorto, NYT Sunday Review, 7/30/2011.  First appearance of the Dutch anti- dooring method found thus far in the US media or in English on the web. In the 5th paragraph Prof. Ruth Oldenziel of Eindhoven University, NL, describes it. Photo of a massive & packed bicycle parking lot in The Netherlands.

The Dutch Way: Bicycles and Fresh Bread, by Russell Shorto, NYT Sunday Review, 7/30/2011. First appearance of the Dutch anti- dooring method found thus far in the US media or in English on the web. In the 5th paragraph Prof. Ruth Oldenziel of Eindhoven University, NL, describes it.

PRIOR REPORTS OF REACH METHOD

  1. 1.  THE DUTCH WAY: BICYCLES AND FRESH BREAD (2011)

by Russell Shorto, New York Times, July 30, 2011.

“To give a small but telling example, pointed out to me by my friend Ruth Oldenziel, an expert on the history of technology at Eindhoven University, Dutch drivers are taught that when you are about to get out of the car, you reach for the door handle with your right hand — bringing your arm across your body to the door. This forces a driver to swivel shoulders and head, so that before opening the door you can see if there is a bike coming from behind. Likewise, every Dutch child has to pass a bicycle safety exam at school. The coexistence of different modes of travel is hard-wired into the culture.”

 

2. HOW THE DUTCH WATCH OUT FOR CYCLISTS  - 2011

Nudge Blog

Screen shot of Nudge Blog post "How the Dutch watch out for cyclists" which describes the far hand anti- dooring habit. It cites Dutch Reach as being a behavior nudge, a simple change of action or habit with larger individual and society benefits. The blog served to promote Cass Sunstein & Richard Thaler's book Nudge - Improving decisions about health, wealth & happiness. Post was written by John Balz, editor who found the practice in a New York Times article by Russell Shorto on bicycling culture in the Netherlands, in July, 2011.

This August 17, 2011 Nudge Blog post was, prior to September 8, 2016, perhaps the only easily referenced webpage in English dedicated to the Reach.  Together with its original source, the July 30, 2011 article in the NYTs above, they are the earliest documentation thus far found by or reported to this Project, of the far hand Reach method in English on the web:

"In the U.K., the public transit agency turned to a marketing campaign built around a famous psychology experiment. In the Netherlands, reports the NYT* Dutch drivers [& passengers] are taught that when you are about to get out of the car, you reach for the door handle with your [opposite] hand, bringing your arm across your body to the door. This forces a driver [& passengers] to swivel shoulders and head, so that before opening the door you can see if there is a bike coming from behind. Likewise, every Dutch child has to pass a bicycle safety exam at school. The coexistence of different modes of travel is hard-wired into the culture."

The then editor of the Nudge Blog, John Balz cited it as an exemplary nudge.    A nudge is a small change - often a shift to a new default action - which has larger societal and individual benefit. The Dutch method prevents crashes by simply swapping one habit for another. The blog - which is now inactive - promotes the book Nudge - Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth & Happiness by Richard Thaler & Cass Sunstein.[who, by the way, have each when contacted, disclaimed any knowledge of this Nudge Blog post nor of the Dutch method. - ed.]

3. VicRoads warns drivers on dooring (2012)

Advice for drivers 

Bike riders are legitimate road users, and are therefore entitled to use the road just the same as any other road user. Car drivers and bike riders should share the road safely and look out for each other.

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) [Italics added - ed.]

Bike riders can travel quickly and may be much closer than you think

When getting into your car, face the oncoming traffic so you can see bike riders (and other road users) travelling towards you. Do not open your car door until they have passed.

Bike riders can ride between parked cars and the lane of traffic so, as a passenger, do not get out of a stationary car when in moving traffic.

Check out the following animation Checking for cyclists and motorcyclists [Video](External link) for further information about how to be more aware of cyclists when opening your car door.

Share the road safely.

 4. A CYCLIST’S MECCA, WITH LESSONS FOR BOSTON

By innovating ways for cars and bikes to share the road, the Dutch have set the safety standard.

By Martine Powers, SUNDAY BOSTON GLOBE, Sept. 22, 2013

“Driver’s license exams, too, are part of the equation. Questions on the written exam are geared toward knowing how to interact with a bicycle. In the practical exam, drivers invariably cross paths with bikes.:

"The last task of the exam is opening the driver’s side door. Drivers are required in the exam to use their right hand to open their door, which forces them to turn their torso. That makes it more likely they will look over their shoulder to check for oncoming cyclists who could get doored. Fail that part of the exam, and you could very well fail the whole thing.”

A Cyclist's Mecca, with lessons for Boston, by Martine Powers, Globe Staff, Sept. 22, 2013. long feature article on bicycling culture & safety in The Netherlands. Includes mention of the Dutch far hand method used to avoid dooring cyclists, taught in driver's education classes and tested on the licensing exam.

From Boston Globe, Sept. 22, 2013.  Video & article available at link if a subscriber.

 

5. NEW HAVEN, CT, USA - WINDSHIELD FLYERS ON "AMSTERDAM METHOD" (2013)  

See: Anti-dooring Campaigns

 

6.  FORT COLLINS, CO, USA ~ ? 2014 ?

Home of the 'Opposite Hand Trick'!  

See: Anti-dooring Campaigns

 

7. MONTREAL TELECAST REPORTS THE REACH (2014)

 Part of Montreal’s April 2014 anti-dooring campaign, ‘One Door, One Life’ / ‘Une Porte, Une Vie’.
“One Door, One Life” campaign website features this GlobalNews.ca TV clip. The Reach is described near the end in interview with a campaign spokesman Geoffrey Bush:

Cyclists launch campaign to prevent ‘dooring’

 

Montreal Bike Coalition launches anti-dooring campaign:

http://coalitionvelomontreal.org/en/events/campaing-launch-one-door-one-life/

 

8. VISION ZERO - SF VIDEO TEACHES THE ‘REACH’ (2015)

Large Vehicle Urban Driver Safety – by Vision Zero SF, SFGOVTV - 2015 (17 min.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LbC3FQeZqc
The City of San Francisco together with Vision Zero SF produced this 2015 training video for urban fleet truck drivers. The SF Bicycle Coalition consulted on its content, which includes segments on best practices for high-risk vehicle-bicycle situations. Dooring risk and the Reach are explained and shown at 14:30 min. viz:

 

PRE-2011: SAFE VEHICLE EXIT TEACHING VIDEO DEMO’S THE REACH (Netherlands' Driver Education, in Dutch!*):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHUh8NCbv_k

*Appeal! If you can transcribe and translate the script of this video’s audio and titles into English, please do so and kindly contact www.DutchReach.org using the Contact form for posting with this link!

 

POST 'DUTCH REACH' START UP:

THE SIMPLE TECHNIQUE THAT COULD SAVE CYCLISTS’ LIVES

It's called the Dutch Reach, and if a Massachusetts doctor has his way, it could prevent road riders from ever getting doored again
By: Ben Fox Sep 19, 2016, Outside Magazine Online

News story & video: http://www.outsideonline.com/2115116/dutch-reach

“Simple Technique Video” alone: https://www.outsideonline.com/2116191/how-dutch-reach-could-save-lives#ooid=01N3Z5NTE6cB4lGk4JH8xb_O3ftTVGM