Nugget of Knowledge: The Dutch Reach

A practice popularized in the Netherlands was developed to avoid getting "doored"

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Have you ever heard of the Dutch Reach?

It may save a life.

Let’s set this up: you pull your car over to the curb, then open the driver’s side door to get out. Did you open it into the path of someone on a bicycle?

We don’t usually track these statistics, but in 2011, one in five bike crashes in Chicago happened this way.

Worse yet, you’ll swing open your door into the path of a car.

To prevent this, drivers in the Netherlands rely on a simple practice that’s come to be called the “Dutch Reach.” After parking, they reach for their car door’s handle using their right arm instead of their left one closest to the door.

This forces the drivers to pivot their bodies so they look over their shoulders, allowing them to notice anyone coming up on them — bicycle riders or other cars.

It’s part of the culture in the Netherlands today. They’ve been doing this for 50 years.

Children learn this habit from their teachers and parents, and it’s even included on their driving tests.

It would be a good habit to catch on here. There is a website called

There is a website called dutchreach.org that has more information.

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