The Sun says it’s ‘rude’ and ‘absurd’; clearly losing a fight with the keyboard, the Mail brands it ‘ridiculue’ and ‘wweird’ – it’s the Dutch Reach technique that can prevent cyclists from being doored.
The Sun goes with: “'SOUNDS QUITE RUDE' Police mocked for ‘absurd’ campaign involving a manoeuvre dubbed ‘Dutch reach’ aimed to make roads safer for cyclists”
The Mail has “It’s just Double Dutch! Motorists ridiculue [sic] police proposal for drivers to adopt wweird [sic] 'Dutch Reach' technique for getting out of a car without hitting a cyclist”
For those that don’t know, the Dutch Reach is a technique for opening car doors where you use your opposite hand. It is taught to learner drivers in the Netherlands as it twists your upper body so that you can’t help but look behind you, minimising the chance that you might door a passing cyclist.
Strikingly, the stories in both The Mail and The Sun feature the same video in which a motorist does slightly more than that. Rather than merely opening his door with his opposite hand, he actually winds down his window and opens it from the outside.
The Mail titles the video “Drivers told to exit car using odd Dutch reach around technique” for added fnarr value.
The out-of-the-window method looks faintly ridiculous – which is presumably why both publications have also garnished their articles with a number of stills from it.
The Mail does at least acknowledge that “the typical method simply involves you using your opposite hand to open the door from the inside,” but The Sun just takes the video at face value and presents through-the-window as being the recommended method.
Both newspapers quote retired agricultural specialist Frank Porter, and marketing assistant Beth Sykes, both of whom have taken Cambridge Police’s suggestion that drivers employ the method as an egregious attack on their civil liberties.
Porter said: “Who are the police or council to try and change the way we have opened doors since cars were invented? Cyclists already dictate how we have to behave on the roads, this is a step too far. You won’t see me doing it, that’s for sure.”
Sykes said: “This is an absurd idea. I'm all for more being done to keep cyclists safe on the roads but I don't think drivers twisting themselves into a ball to get out of their cars is the way forward. What's wrong with the old fashioned way of looking around you before you get out of your car?'”
Sam Jones from Cycling UK told the Telegraph: “We know of families who have lost loved ones because someone has literally just opened a car door. It’s been a big issue for us for a long time. It’s safer not just for the cyclist, but motorcyclists, or someone jogging or walking with a pram.”
Cycling UK is pressing cycling minister Andrew Jones to promote the method and would also like to see it included in driving tests.