What is the Dutch Reach?

In June we teamed up with Cycling UK to bring you an article about the safe passing of cyclists. This month we’ve joined forces to answer the question, what is the Dutch Reach and what’s it got to do with car-dooring?

Put simply, the Dutch Reach is a change of habit. I’m sure we can all agree we are used to opening the car door with the hand closest to the handle. The Dutch Reach requires you to reach across and open the door with the hand furthest away, forcing your body to turn towards the window, helping you spot oncoming cyclists. It may take a while to get used to, but once you do it becomes second nature.

Over 500 people are injured in the UK every year because someone opens a car door into their path, otherwise known as car-dooring. As Cycling UK point out, these are just the injuries that are reported to police, no doubt many more go unreported.

Some may think that leaning across to open your door with your opposite hand is going too far, however, according to Cycling UK and YouGov, 40% of people are put off cycling because they fear car doors being opened into their path.

A recent poll shows that only 12% of the UK population know what the Dutch Reach is; 22% thought it was a beer and a further 15% thought it was a yoga pose!

So it seems that what is called for is education. Incorporating the Dutch Reach into driving lessons would educate future drivers and sharing the #TeachTheReach! message to all will help to spread the message to more experienced drivers too.

Head of Campaigns at Cycling UK, Duncan Dollimore, agrees:

“The Dutch Reach is such a simple technique, that if everyone learned it from a young age, it could make a real difference to safety on our roads.”

Do you practice the Dutch Reach? Do you think it should become a mandatory part of learning to drive? Let us know via any of our social media channels.