The "Dutch Reach" car-door opening technique prevents injury to cyclists


Ironically, when I’m doing the “Dutch Reach” people prefer that I keep the door closed.


the motorist needs sometime more attempts to learn


As the Netherlandian gentleman pointed out in the video this technique is also useful for preventing the wind from ripping the door open and having it dent that really expensive Cadillac parked next to you. So even if you don’t care if cyclists live or die this is a good reason to get into this habit.


Recall that infamous popcorn scene from the film Diner?


I just check my mirror and do so long enough than any vehicle is clear of the blind spot before opening. Am I missing something?

If I have a passenger in the rear driver’s side, I always give them a warning if there is a bicycle or car coming, or the all-clear if there is not.


No - you’re confusing it with the seashore party move of the same ilk, and its similar move from the aforesaid date’s reaction. The Beach Putsch.


Any safety initiative that can be characterized as “If we can just get people to…” will fail abysmally. The painting of cyclists’ “murderstrips” adjacent to parked cars is completely indefensible. But then, for most municipalities, cyclists’ safety isn’t worth even one parking space, let alone an actual piece of infrastructure that will protect vulnerable road users from the appalling road violence. Safety only matters to motorists if it won’t delay or otherwise inconvenience them.

So remember car drivers, next time you think you’re being delayed by a cyclist, think of all the cyclists that aren’t there because of the threat that you might kill them. They’re on meandering back-streets (thus, paradoxically, being delayed by you), or simply not cycling at all.


As a cyclist I practice the “Fuuuuuuck Screach”. When someone opens a car door into my path I let out a blood curdling scream. If it doesn’t make them think twice next time, at least it’s a good way to blow off some steam.


Also, try and see if you can see any heads inside through the rear window, if it’s not too heavily tinted. If you do, pass the car with caution.


Why? They seem to be doing just fine without.


And only if it’s their own safety. At least here in the United States, fatality rates for occupants of motor vehicles have steadily declined thanks to safety regulations, but pedestrian and cyclist fatalities are climbing as motorists buy heavy, tall SUVs. We don’t have pedestrian safety standards for new vehicles (as the EU does).

Perhaps they are sitting in the car in front of you in the traffic jam…


God I hate riding past parking like this. As a cyclist, your options are:
*ride in the door zone and risk getting doored; or
*ride just out of the door zone and risk having someone try to overtake when there’s no room;or
*take up primary position in the middle of the road, get tailgated and honked at, and still have people try to overtake at an unsafe distance.

People really need to chill the fuck out with stuff like this before they kill someone.


All parked cars (to a first approximation) now have people sitting in them. They’re looking at their phones.


Didn’t they read enough email when they were driving?/s


This practice is now required knowledge for driving tests in Massachusetts and Illinois.

As an aside, I’ve asked around half a dozen Dutch people and none of them have ever heard of it.


I hope you’re being facetious… but if not.

Why? What could America (I assume you’re American, but really the point is the same no matter where you’re from) possibly teach the Dutch about promoting safe cycling?

  • The Dutch have the by far the highest rates of cycling of anywhere in the world.
  • The Dutch have by far the largest network of fully separated cycling infrastructure of anywhere in the world.
  • The vast majority of streets in cities which do not have fully separated cycling infrastructure are deliberately “traffic calmed” to make people drive at less than 30km/h.
  • The rates of head injuries per km ridden are exceptionally low.

When you’ve built cities like the Dutch, and your cycling culture is like the Dutch; helmets are about as necessary as they are for the pedestrians…


Mirrors also have a limited field of view and/or distorted distance perception.


From what I hear, most Dutch recreational cyclists (mountain bikers, roadies going on long fast rides in Lycra) do wear helmets, but ordinary Dutch folks going about their business by bicycle do not. (I haven’t visited the Netherlands so I can’t confirm if that is true.)

That also describes my own personal pattern of helmet (non-)use, in a USAmerican city with a relatively large amount of cycle traffic. (I put one on when I’m leaving the city to ride hundreds of kms for fun, but not to go grocery shopping.)

Bike helmets are designed and tested to protect against a fall, not a car door being opened in your face or an SUV ramming into you.


We call them that in the Netherlands too.

The French, meanwhile, call them Chou de Bruxelles- Brussels cabbage.


I live in the Netherlands, and that seems to be true.

This also explains why, while 0.5% of Dutch cyclists wear helmets, 13% of people brought into Dutch hospitals with cycling-related injuries were wearing them.