Have you heard of the Dutch Reach? Do you know how to help prevent the risk of dooring?

Helpforme – Personal Legal Services is committed to cycling safety. We know that it takes both drivers and cyclists being aware of each other to keep everyone safe. We’ve compiled some tips to help us all reduce the risk of dooring.

What is the Dutch Reach?

According to ICBC, one in 14 car crashes involving cyclists in BC is the result of dooring. The Dutch Reach is a simple yet important skill that can become a very effective habit to prevent dooring. In the Netherlands it is taught at an early age and is second nature for most drivers.

Using the Dutch Reach, the driver gets ready to step out of their car by opening the door with their right hand (far hand) instead of their left. This procedure forces the driver to look back for oncoming cyclists as they reach to open their car door and gives them time to wait if an unexpected cyclist is approaching from behind.

Cyclists need to scan & be aware 

A driver is legally responsible for making sure it is safe to open their car door. However, as cyclists, it is still in our best interest to do all we can to be aware of the possibility of a sudden opening car door. We can protect ourselves from significant injury and damage to our bikes by being vigilant and aware of the following when riding past parked cars:

  • Ride no closer than 1 meter from parked cars.
  • Look for the turning of the wheels of a parked car.
  • Look for people in the car – check the side mirror and look through the back window.
  • Listen for the sound of the engine.
  • Keep your head up and continually scan the area.

The City of Vancouver has added a useful Dooring Caution Zone Map listing high risk areas for dooring.

Got more cycling related legal questions? Contact a Helpforme Lawyer today.