If you spend a lot of time on a bicycle or motorcycle, you’re aware of the hazards from every moving vehicle around you. You know that drivers sometimes seem to look right through you or turn left into your path without thinking. You know that distracted drivers, speeders and vehicles that are making a run on red are all a problem.
But what about the dangers that come from parked cars? “Dooring,” which is the term used for accidents caused by someone opening a vehicle’s door right into the path of an oncoming biker or cyclist, is a bigger issue than many people realize. By some accounts, dooring is the cause of nearly one-fifth of all cycling injuries.
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to prepare for a door that’s flung open right in front of you. You can try to keep an eye out ahead for people who have just parked their cars and exercise more caution, but that’s still not enough.
Instead, the best thing you can do to protect yourself (and others) is to spread the word about the “Dutch Reach.” The Dutch Reach is being promoted worldwide as part of driver (and passenger) education efforts that are designed to save lives.
What is the Dutch Reach? Simply put: Drivers and passengers alike are urged to open their vehicle doors with the far hand. In this country, that means that drivers would open their car doors with their right hands, and people on the passenger side of a vehicle would open their doors with their left hands. That particular maneuver causes the operator to look over their shoulders as they open the door, which can help them spot an oncoming biker.
Educate your friends, family members and social groups about the Dutch Reach. Help make the initiative spread — because the life you save may be your own.
If you are injured in a dooring accident, seek medical help right away. Once you’ve recovered, you can find out more about your right to compensation for your losses.