The ‘Dutch Reach’ can help drivers protest themseves and cyclists

‘Dooring’ is the term used to describe an incident where a bike rider is struck by an opening motor vehicle door, often resulting in injury to the rider. These very preventable accidents are not uncommon in urban areas, as the popularity of cycling increases for local travel and commutes, the prevalence of ‘Doorings’ is rising.While this is a global problem, data from the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) here in New Zealand shows they received nearly a claim a week from cyclists hit by car doors in 2017 and paid out more than $58,000 in compensation for those accidents in that year alone. The answer to ‘Dooring’, which killed 9 Cyclists in London between 2014 and 2018 and injured 2,348 more, is called the ‘Dutch Reach’ and is incredibly simple. This practice requires you to open your car door with your left hand which forces you to swivel your upper torso. This enables you to look in the rear-view mirror, out to the side and then look over your shoulder, allowing a continuous view of oncoming traffic while opening the door.The “Dutch Reach” has been taught in the Netherlands, where it is common practice, for years. In fact, Dutch people are required to properly demonstrate it before they can pass their driving test. The technique protects drivers as well as cyclists as in most cases the driver is found at fault in these accidents. If such a simple technique can save lives might it be time it became common practice in New Zealand too?