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Use the Dutch Reach When Opening Car Doors

It’s Easy and Prioritizes Safety
Joey Kotfica

Every day, preventable “dooring” accidents can happen when parked motorists open vehicle doors into the path of an oncoming cyclist. Sometimes, cyclists are not visible in mirrors; most dooring accidents are preventable using the “Dutch Reach.”

The Dutch Reach teaches people in vehicles to open the door using the far hand. So, if you are sitting on the driver’s side, reach for the door handle using your right hand. If you are on the passenger side, open the door using your left hand.

This action forces your body to swivel, and you will naturally have a better view of any oncoming cyclists or pedestrians that might get injured when you open the door.

  • Step 1: Reach for the door handle using the far hand
  • Step 2: Look for cyclists and pedestrians who may be passing
  • Step 3: Open the door slowly
  • Step 4: Exit the vehicle and quickly step away from the path of traffic

The Dutch Reach gets its name from the large cycling community in the Netherlands where this technique was first made popular.

MTC leads the Bay Area Vision Zero Working Group, which supports Vision Zero initiatives in the region. The goal of Vision Zero is to eliminate roadway injuries and deaths in the Bay Area.

The number of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities from vehicle crashes have increased 77% and 60%, respectively, since 2010, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety. See the latest data at MTC’s Vital Signs website. Using the Dutch Reach can help the Bay Area come closer to achieving Vision Zero success.

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