Have any of you heard of a thing called the dutch reach? We’re big fans of the cyclists of the world and this is a great way to help improve their safety, and your insurance claims. It’s so easy there’s no reason not to do it, in fact, we can’t believe we’ve not been doing it.
What is the dutch reach?
The dutch reach is a simple change in the way you get out of the car that can help stop accidents known as ‘doorings’. If you haven’t heard of the dutch reach then we’re guessing you don’t know what ‘dooring’ is either (to be fair, we didn’t until 4 weeks ago), it’s basically when a passenger or driver in a parked car opens the door into the path of a cyclist or vehicle.
Sadly, hundreds of cyclists are injured every year in the UK as a result of dooring collisions. With cycling up by up to 200% in the UK over the lockdown period, it’s more important than ever that we keep cyclists safe on the road.
You can avoid this kind of accident simply by making the dutch reach a habit when getting out of your car. So without further adieu; here’s how to do it.
How to do the dutch reach
Step 1: Reach
Reach across to your car door handle with the hand that is furthest away from the door.
Step 2: Swivel
Reaching across with your arm will force you to swivel your body so you can look into your rear view mirror and out the side of your window.
Step 3: Look back
Look over your shoulder to see if there is any oncoming traffic.
Step 4: Open slowly
Once you’ve checked the road is clear, slowly open your car door and step out facing the traffic.
Where does the dutch reach come from?
Yep, you’ve guessed it…the Netherlands. What better place to get road safety tips from than the land of tulips, windmills and cycling?
The technique has been familiar to learner drivers in the Netherlands for around 50 years. They don’t refer to it as ‘the dutch reach’, it’s simply how they’re taught to open a car door.
The term was coined by Michael Charney, a retired physician and cycling enthusiast from the USA. In 2016 he launched dutchreach.org to spread awareness after a 27 year old nursing student passed away after a dooring accident near his home.
Here in the UK, Cycling UK have done some amazing work to try and get the dutch reach out to the world. They’ve even got the dutch reach into the proposals for a revised Highway Code.
You may not need to know the dutch reach for your theory test just yet. But that could all change soon so it’s good to get ahead of the game.
The dutch reach challenge
It’s safe, simple and it works. The tricky part is doing it daily so that it becomes a habit. We thought long and hard about how we could help spread awareness and make the dutch reach easier to remember. Enter: the dutch reach challenge.
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That’s right. We’ve created a dance routine for the dutch reach. We couldn’t resist. We’ve been dancing our way out of our cars for weeks now. And now it’s your turn to get involved and do the #Veygodutchreach. Who knew road safety could be so catchy?