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Technique taught to learner drivers in Netherlands can save lives

Our story today about the trial of a Glasgow taxi driver who fatally injured a cyclist when he opened the door of his vehicle into the rider's path sadly illustrates one of the main hazards facing people on bikes - but across the Atlantic, there are calls to learn from the Netherlands about how to prevent such incidents happening by using one simple technique.

Illustrated in the above video from Outside Magazine, it's called the 'Dutch Reach,' and takes its name from the fact that learner drivers in the Netherlands are required to open their car door with their right hand.

The manoeuvre means that their upper body has to twist around, meaning they are looking towards the rear of the vehicle – and, therefore, towards any cyclists who may be riding in the so-called ‘door zone.’

Outside Magazine notes in its report on a campaign by a Massachusetts doctor to introduce the technique there that of 45,000 cyclists injured in the United States in 2015, one in ten were victims of a vehicle occupant opening a door as they approached.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

27 comments

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LegalFun [81 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

Most UK cars have the ignition barrel on the right hand side of the steering wheel, so by using your left hand to open the door you wont scratch up the handle and doorcards of your car with your keys.

See it benefits car drivers as well as cyclists  1

We have a lot to learn from the Dutch and other european nations, unfortunately the UK seems to want to distance itself from anything european at the moment.

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oozaveared [937 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
LegalFun wrote:

We have a lot to learn from the Dutch and other european nations, unfortunately the UK seems to want to distance itself from anything european at the moment.

 

You do know that the EU is not "Europe" don't you? I mean I know that Europe is oft used as shorthand for the EU but I don't think they meant people to understand that Europe was in fact the EU.  For example when the UK leaves the EU it will still be in Europe and we will still be Europeans.

A good idea is a good idea. In this case it is a Dutch idea which the article points out has been adopted to some effect in the USA (also not in the EU) and could and should (imho) be adopted here either before or after we leave the EU but as soon as possible. 

Reinds me of a conversation I had in a pub in Trafalgar Square with an American boyfriend of my female flatmate.

“Wait, so is it England or the UK? I don’t get the difference.”

 

 

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rookybiker [46 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

“Wait, so is it England or the UK? I don’t get the difference.”

There is still Great Britain to befuddle us poor foreigners .

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DanielCoffey [18 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

It is a simple piece of education, I agree, and one we can all use when we do have to use a car.

The current trend for heavily tinted rear/side car windows really doesn't help cyclists who are progressing along one of these cycle lanes though.

I know they provide privacy for children in the rear of the car but they largely prevent a cyclist from seeing the driver start to turn towards the door until the cyclist is close enough to see in the driver's window by which time a dooring is too late to avoid.

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psling [257 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes
oozaveared wrote:
LegalFun wrote:

We have a lot to learn from the Dutch and other european nations, unfortunately the UK seems to want to distance itself from anything european at the moment.

 

You do know that the EU is not "Europe" don't you? I mean I know that Europe is oft used as shorthand for the EU but I don't think they meant people to understand that Europe was in fact the EU.  For example when the UK leaves the EU it will still be in Europe and we will still be Europeans.

A good idea is a good idea. In this case it is a Dutch idea which the article points out has been adopted to some effect in the USA (also not in the EU) and could and should (imho) be adopted here either before or after we leave the EU but as soon as possible. 

Reinds me of a conversation I had in a pub in Trafalgar Square with an American boyfriend of my female flatmate.

“Wait, so is it England or the UK? I don’t get the difference.”

 

 

 

Nice rant but where is the EU mentioned?

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brooksby [2647 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
LegalFun wrote:

Most UK cars have the ignition barrel on the right hand side of the steering wheel, so by using your left hand to open the door you wont scratch up the handle and doorcards of your car with your keys.

Well, you know you could take the key out of the ignition, put it in a pocket, then open the door...

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LastBoyScout [307 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
LegalFun wrote:

Most UK cars have the ignition barrel on the right hand side of the steering wheel, so by using your left hand to open the door you wont scratch up the handle and doorcards of your car with your keys.

Go keyless, problem solved.

Good idea though it may be for drivers, the better course of action, where possible, is to ride at least a door's width away from parked vehicles, as it's not just drivers that open doors.

Guy I used to know caught the point of a taxi passenger's door in his shoulder one evening, which caused a considerable amount of damage to his shoulder and, subsequently, other parts of him and his bike when he hit the floor. To add insult to injury, just after he hit the floor, his mate ran him over because he couldn't stop quickly enough.

He was, at least, fortunate that it was in the evening with light traffic and he wasn't run over by another car.

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nowasps [519 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
DanielCoffey wrote:

I know they provide privacy for children in the rear of the car 

 

I've never heard this before... what does it mean? Some kind of anti-paedophile defence?

 

 

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NPlus1Bikelight... [34 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
rookybiker wrote:

“Wait, so is it England or the UK? I don’t get the difference.”

There is still Great Britain to befuddle us poor foreigners .

 

This helps:

http://brilliantmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/England-vs-GB-Vs-UK.gif

On the main topic I stay way away from door kill zones despite hoots. Cycle lanes that put you in that zone are ridicuolous. New York's newest lanes don't do this they can teach UK council something and even some of the ones just outside Amsterdam are guilty of it.

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ktache [627 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
rookybiker wrote:

“Wait, so is it England or the UK? I don’t get the difference.”

There is still Great Britain to befuddle us poor foreigners .

Don't forget the British Isles.

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Jem PT [144 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
ktache wrote:
rookybiker wrote:

“Wait, so is it England or the UK? I don’t get the difference.”

There is still Great Britain to befuddle us poor foreigners .

Don't forget the British Isles.

Or the Commonwealth.

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Leviathan [2840 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

What about a bailiwick?

 

I will happily accept a reach around from a Dutch.

 

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rjfrussell [403 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
NPlus1BikelightsNJerseys wrote:
rookybiker wrote:

“Wait, so is it England or the UK? I don’t get the difference.”

There is still Great Britain to befuddle us poor foreigners .

 

This helps:

http://brilliantmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/England-vs-GB-Vs-UK.gif

On the main topic I stay way away from door kill zones despite hoots. Cycle lanes that put you in that zone are ridicuolous. New York's newest lanes don't do this they can teach UK council something and even some of the ones just outside Amsterdam are guilty of it.

 

It doesn't really help, because from a physical geography perspective, Great Britain is usually limited to the one main island--  whereas that map includes all the islands of England, Wales and Scotland, and even the Isle of Man.  It also has Ireland in the wrong place relative to Great Britain.  I  mean, massively wrong.

Avatar
srchar [688 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes
psling wrote:

Nice rant but where is the EU mentioned?

What do you think "unfortunately the UK seems to want to distance itself from anything european at the moment" was a reference to? A hitherto secret project to tow our island into the middle of the Atlantic?

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macrophotofly [289 posts] 1 year ago
7 likes
srchar wrote:
psling wrote:

Nice rant but where is the EU mentioned?

What do you think "unfortunately the UK seems to want to distance itself from anything european at the moment" was a reference to? A hitherto secret project to tow our island into the middle of the Atlantic?

I think it is a reference to the growing numbers of attacks in the UK on foreigners from any part of Europe.  Nearly every UK news article reaching the outside world (eg various news items on the UK reported in Japan) is now telling stories of hate and violence from British people towards non-British. The "face" of Britain to the outside world is being deeply scarred by this. I don't live in the UK and I have people coming up to me now asking is it safe to visit or live there. It is hardly believeable.

The UK government seem to be only encouraging this grotesque behaviour by wanting companies to list all the foreigners who work for them (yes that story got broadly reported in all the press here in Japan) What next from this government I wonder...  sew yellow stars on their clothes?

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tsarouxaz [84 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

GOOOOD. but this is only for people that care about cyclists and generaly about other peoples lifes... British four wheelers don't seem to be on that team.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1855 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
rjfrussell wrote:
NPlus1BikelightsNJerseys wrote:
rookybiker wrote:

“Wait, so is it England or the UK? I don’t get the difference.”

There is still Great Britain to befuddle us poor foreigners .

 

This helps:

http://brilliantmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/England-vs-GB-Vs-UK.gif

On the main topic I stay way away from door kill zones despite hoots. Cycle lanes that put you in that zone are ridicuolous. New York's newest lanes don't do this they can teach UK council something and even some of the ones just outside Amsterdam are guilty of it.

 

It doesn't really help, because from a physical geography perspective, Great Britain is usually limited to the one main island--  whereas that map includes all the islands of England, Wales and Scotland, and even the Isle of Man.  It also has Ireland in the wrong place relative to Great Britain.  I  mean, massively wrong.

It also shows the Isle Of Man as being in the UK - which it isn't!

Avatar
Beatnik69 [395 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
rjfrussell wrote:
NPlus1BikelightsNJerseys wrote:
rookybiker wrote:

“Wait, so is it England or the UK? I don’t get the difference.”

There is still Great Britain to befuddle us poor foreigners .

 

This helps:

http://brilliantmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/England-vs-GB-Vs-UK.gif

On the main topic I stay way away from door kill zones despite hoots. Cycle lanes that put you in that zone are ridicuolous. New York's newest lanes don't do this they can teach UK council something and even some of the ones just outside Amsterdam are guilty of it.

 

It doesn't really help, because from a physical geography perspective, Great Britain is usually limited to the one main island--  whereas that map includes all the islands of England, Wales and Scotland, and even the Isle of Man.  It also has Ireland in the wrong place relative to Great Britain.  I  mean, massively wrong.

It also shows the Isle Of Man as being in the UK - which it isn't!

It also has Dundalk, Drogheda and Dublin in the UK which could upset some people and lead to a lot of trouble. Not such a Brilliant Map after all.

Avatar
atgni [437 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
srchar wrote:

secret project to tow our island into the middle of the Atlantic?

It won't work as we're fixed in place by the Channel Tunnel.

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stephen connor [55 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Great idea could be used here in Ireland as well. as we drive on the same side of the road as the UK.

Its not unlike a technique I was taught on an advanced motorcycle training course that replaces the standard "Look, Signal, Manouvre" protocol before you change positiion/move lane/ make a turn while on the road which is changed to "Look, Signal, Lifesaver, Manouvre". The lifesaver element being an over the shoulder check just before you make the manouvre. This extra step as with the above "dutch reach" gives you the extra opportunity to see a pedestrain/cyclist in your blind spot. Its that effective that I transferred it to my car driving especially on left turns where cyclists can get stuck between a vehicle and the roadside/kerb. I have first hand experince of spoting a cyclist like this where I hadn't picked him/her up i the mirrors. I think I also do it when cycling as well out of habit.

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Leviathan [2840 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

 

Quote:

It also shows the Isle Of Man as being in the UK - which it isn't!

Team GB has been invaded by foreign types, I knew that Cavendish's accent was fake; pretending to be from Kirkby!

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ColT [344 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

If you are thinking of coming out here to Taiwan, where doors being opened on bikes and scooters is a daily occurrence, you probably need to see this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NqREWN4z4Y

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thesaladdays [124 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Jem PT wrote:
ktache wrote:
rookybiker wrote:

“Wait, so is it England or the UK? I don’t get the difference.”

There is still Great Britain to befuddle us poor foreigners .

Don't forget the British Isles.

Or the Commonwealth.

Or Perfidious Albion.

Avatar
boil-in-the-bag [15 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

This'll be an amusing read in a few years' time when self-driving cars won't open their doors if there's an approaching cyclist. I can hardly wait to track stand energetically in the "blind spot" of old thereby imprisoning a motorist in their vehicle.

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brooksby [2647 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
boil-in-the-bag wrote:

This'll be an amusing read in a few years' time when self-driving cars won't open their doors if there's an approaching cyclist. I can hardly wait to track stand energetically in the "blind spot" cof old thereby imprisoning a motorist in their vehicle.

"I'm sorry, I can't open the driver's door, Dave"

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JulesW [38 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

It's a good idea but local press seem to be making it a very hard technique;

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/city-leaders-police-urge-drivers-12...

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Al__S [1268 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes
JulesW wrote:

It's a good idea but local press seem to be making it a very hard technique;

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/city-leaders-police-urge-drivers-12...

"The problem with Raymond was that he liked a good story even if sometimes he couldn’t always substantiate any necessary underlying facts" (from here)

 

Raymond Brown is a hack of the lowest order.  He's often claimed not to be anti-cyclist, yet can't seem to help writing all sorts of crap where cyclists seem to be painted in a poor light.