Ride-hailing firms Uber and Lyft have begun encouraging US users to employ the Dutch Reach method of opening car doors to reduce the chances they might accidentally ‘door’ a cyclist. Both firms have also started sending messages to drivers reminding them not to park in bike lanes.
The Dutch Reach involves the driver or passenger opening their door with their opposite hand when exiting the vehicle. The move is taught to learner drivers in the Netherlands because it twists the upper body so that the person is forced to look behind them in the direction from which a cyclist may well be approaching.
The motivation for Uber and Lyft to become more cyclist-friendly is not too difficult to deduce. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that both firms have recently entered the bike-share market.
“Dooring is among the top reasons bicyclists are injured in San Francisco,” said executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Brian Wiedenmeier. “We’ve been talking to Uber and Lyft about this for years. But once they each acquired a bike-share company, they started to get serious.”
According to Wiedenmeier, both are nervous about “the prospect of someone who’s riding one of their bikes being injured by someone getting out of one of their cars.”
As well as sending in-app Dutch Reach reminders, Lyft is distributing window stickeres reminding people to look out for bikes and scooters.
Uber started sending similar in-app reminders earlier this week, while a bike lane feature is also being piloted in San Francisco, New York, Washington DC and Toronto.
A blog post announcing the latter measure stated: “With this Bike Lane Alert, the Uber rider will receive a push notification informing them that their upcoming drop-off is near a bike lane or along a bike route and remind them to look out for people on bikes before opening their door.”