Insurance Blog
Thursday, 06 May 2021 20:49

The Dutch Reach Technique to Protect Bicyclists

The Dutch Reach Method Prevents "Dooring" 

Dooring, or car dooring, is the act of opening a vehicle door into a bicyclist, pedestrian, or another vehicle.

Open vehicle doors pose a very serious threat to bicyclists. The Dutch Reach Project began as a way to prevent dooring accidents by using a simple technique called the Dutch Reach method which originated in the Netherlands. Also known as the Far Hand Reach method, the technique forces your body to turn, which will better allow you to see approaching bicyclists, and prevents the vehicle door from being opened too fast. This not only protects bicyclists and pedestrians but can also prevent your door from being damaged or torn off by an approaching motor vehicle.1

When opening a vehicle door, drivers and passengers should do the following:

  1. Check the rear-view mirror.
  2. Check the side-view mirror.
  3. Open the door with the hand farthest from the door (far hand reach).

Whether called the Dutch Reach or the Far Hand Reach, the technique is considered the safest way to avoid car door collisions. Michael Charney, a retired physician, has spent nearly three years working to spread the word about the technique. Visit the Dutch Reach Project website for videos, graphics, research, and other materials about the topic.

The Dutch Reach is the Law in Massachusetts

Massachusetts law states that motorists and their passengers must check for passing bicyclists before opening their doors. Motorists and their passengers can be ticketed and fined up to $100 for opening car or truck doors into the path of bicycles, pedestrians, and any other vehicle traffic.  See Massachusetts General Law Chapter 89, Section 2 and Chapter 90, Section 14.2

The Dutch Reach method appears on pages 112 and 113 of the current Massachusetts Driver's Manual.


Learn The Dutch Reach Method

Referring to the method as the Far Reach technique, the National Safety Council (NSC) now teaches it in the 10th edition of its Defensive Driving Course.


May is National Bike Month   

May is National Bike Month, promoted by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more folks to give biking a try.


Ride Safe, Enjoy the Ride

Prevent accidents and save lives by using the Dutch Reach/Far Hand Reach. It's easy: Just reach, turn, look.

Related Reading:

  • MA Laws for Motorists Driving in the Presence of Bicyclists. Motorists, bicyclists, and motorcyclists all have the same rights on the road. The article includes bicycle box etiquette for drivers.





2 and

3 The National Safety Council

Disclaimer: Information and links on this page may change without notice. Check and the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles for the latest regulations.

Read 2185 times Last modified on Wednesday, 12 May 2021 19:50

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