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Do the Dutch Reach!

Geoffrey Cohen | Published on 3/21/2019

How to be a little safer...for you and other cyclists

What the heck is a “Dutch Reach”? 


If you, or anyone you know, has ever been “doored”, then you need to practice the Dutch Reach.


What do the Dutch reach for? Oliebollen (Dutch doughnuts)? Of course! Tulips? Sure!


But the Dutch, known for their bicycle addiction, also reach for something else…safety. Simply the Dutch Reach is a safer way to leave your car; safer for you and for any passing cyclists.


Practicing the Dutch Reach is simple. When you are about to leave a car, a taxi, an Uber, or any of the other various company vehicles that now proliferate in NYC, open the car door with your far hand, the hand furthest from the door. Reach across your body, pause to look behind you, and if it is clear, open the door.


The Dutch Reach forces you to turn sideways where looking behind you to assure that the road is clear is easy. Right before you open the door, raise your eyes slightly and you have a clear line of vision on anything approaching you from behind, whether another vehicle or a passing cyclist.


Putting it another way: Far hand reach; look behind you; open when safe.


In closing, not only can you practice this, you can tell others how you act to make everyone a little bit safer.


Far hand reach; look; open when safe.


Geoff Cohen, Member and Leader 5BBC