Promoting The “Dutch Reach” To Prevent Dooring

One doesn’t need to spend much time cycling around Brockville anywhere near parked cars to quickly learn that most car drivers are pretty lazy when it comes to checking for oncoming traffic, including those on bikes, before opening their car door and potentially dooring someone.

“Dooring” is the term used to describe someone on a bike being hit by a car door being opened without first checking for oncoming traffic. Not only is this act illegal and accompanied by a stiff fine and the demerit points, presents grave danger to those riding bikes.

The solution to dooring is quite simple – look and pay attention before opening the car door. An easy way to make this a habit is to learn the practice of the “Dutch reach” and to help others adopt it as well.

The Dutch reach is quite simple – use your opposite hand to open the car door. For the driver this means opening your door with your right hand. This causes you to swivel a bit and makes it easier to see in both your mirror and your peripheral vision whether or not there is someone on a bike approaching.

Some jurisdictions include this practice in driver training and examinations, and these articles from CTVnews and the Globe call for similar adoption in Ontario.

So, if you’re driving down King Street through downtown, respectfully follow in single file the person on a bike ahead of you who’s staying well clear of the doors of parked cars. Then, when you park use the Dutch reach to be socially responsible and to avoid a big fine and increased insurance costs.

Author: Alan Medcalf

Alan is a post-corporate, volunteer, community builder living in Brockville, Ontario. He seeks to create sustainable lifestyle advantage for the community by creating opportunities for more people to choose to walk and to ride bikes. He promotes the health, social, environmental and economic benefits of active mobility.