The Dutch Reach: Clever Workaround to Keep Cyclists from Getting “Doored”

While listening to 99% Invisible on the ride in today, I had to dodge a door and thought, I wonder how long until US drivers could relearn how to open their car doors...

"For decades now in the Netherlands, many drivers have been trained (and tested for their licenses) on a behavior that dramatically reduces the risk of doorings. They do not even have a name for it because it is simply how one opens a car door. Basically, instead of using their door-side (left) arm, they reach over with their other (right) arm. This simple behavioral shift causes drivers to look back naturally and see whether or not there are oncoming bicyclists."

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The reason that most drivers in the U.S. can't do the Dutch-reach is that they hold their smartphones with the right hand while they are driving distracted and exiting their vehicles.
Driver training for licensing!?! Do they even bother doing that here? Isn't driving a right by the constitution? :-)

A well inebriated motorist, being hazardous to the safety of a free state, the right of the road warrior to terrorize everyone, shall not be infringed. 

Great idea. Thanks for posting Jim! 

Two things, education and design.  Clearly, this is something that should be a part of the licensing process here, as well, but we can go further. The inside car door openers should be redesigned and relocated so that the lever hinge is directly beside the driver (or even further rearward) with the lift part of the lever placed toward the front of the vehicle along with a cowling placed over the hinged area making it easier to open the door with the right hand instead of the left. 

Alternatively, we could ban all sedans that are not equipped like my Lambo:

Image result for lamborghini

Ride Illinois recently had an opportunity to provide brief suggestions for the Secretary of State's next Rules of the Road booklet (current version here).  Getting into this is critical for driver education and testing.  On dooring, we recommended an extra sentence, underlined below:

• After parking and before opening vehicle doors, a motorist should first check for bicyclists. One technique is to open the door with the right, not left hand.

Ed, thanks for working to get that sentence into the Rules of the Road booklet. When you say "recommended an extra sentence," is there anything a cyclist here in Illinois can do to help to get that sentence into the booklet? Or is the sentence going to be added. I apologize if the link to the current version shows it's already there, I can't get the link you provided to work in my browser.

>is there anything a cyclist here in Illinois can do to help to get that sentence into the booklet? Or is the sentence going to be added.

It is going up the chain of command at the IL Secretary of State to determine whether it and other suggestions will be added.  It could help to ask your state representative or state senator to weigh in with IL SOS, asking for the addition.


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