What is the Dutch Reach?

In a bid to cut the number of cyclists injured or killed on our roads, the Highway Code now includeS details of the ‘Dutch Reach’.

What is the Dutch Reach?

DRIVE Driving School Questions

The technique is designed to protect cyclists from riding into car doors opened by unobservant drivers or passengers. Instead of the driver opening the door with their right hand, risking not looking round before exiting the car, the ‘Dutch Reach’ sees the motorist using their left hand instead.

How does the Dutch Reach work?

– You pull up on the left hand side of the road and park

– You reach across your body with your left hand to grab the door handle

– As you turn your body, this movement instinctively makes you look at the side mirror before looking over your shoulder

– You check the road behind you for cyclists, pedestrians or other road users

– You open the car safely, fully aware of what is going on around and behind your car.

Where did it start?

DRIVE Driving School Holland Netherlands

This technique has been taught in the Netherlands for years to avoid cyclists and other road users from falling victim to opening car doors, incidents known as ‘car dooming’. In the full Dutch version though, the driver winds down their window, reaches out of the car with their right hand – because they drive on the left hand side of the road – and pulls the external handle to open the door.

The inclusion of the stripped-back, more practical UK version was announced by cycling and walking minister Jesse Norman who said, ‘the benefits of cycling and walking are enormous. We shouldn’t only concentrate on catching and punishing drivers when they make a mistake but try to ensure that they have the skills and knowledge to drive safely alongside cyclists in all conditions.”