A photograph of a parked car opening the door into the path of a cyclist. The Dutch Reach is a technique to avoid accidents like this

What is the Dutch Reach?

What is the Dutch Reach?

The Dutch Reach is a method of opening the door of a vehicle, from the inside – as a driver or passenger – in a way which reduces the chances of injuring a passing cyclist or pedestrian.

How to do the Dutch Reach

Executing the Dutch Reach is simple. All you need to do is use the door handle, with the hand furthest away from the door. As a driver in the UK, that will be your left.

This motion forces you to turn your body towards the door. This allows you to see traffic that is approaching from behind and therefore prevents you from opening the door into their path and causing a potentially serious injury.

Why the Dutch Reach is important

Aside from the fact that nobody wants to injure another person and have to carry the mental burden of the damage you have caused, in practical terms, it could negatively impact your insurance and even result in you being guilty of a criminal offence.

The law

Rule 239 of the Highway Code says that “you MUST ensure you do not hit anyone when you open your door”. It also specifies that you should “Check for cyclists or other traffic”.

S105 The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 and s42 Road Traffic Act 1988 go further still, making it an offence if you allow, or cause a door to be opened, so as to “endanger” another person. This means you could be guilty of an offence by opening a door into the path of a cyclist, whether you hit them or not. With the maximum fine being £1,000, it could prove to be an expensive mistake.

It’s only obvious, once you know

Like many great things, the benefits of the Dutch Reach are obvious, once you know what it is. But despite it being such a simple and effective technique, only a relatively small proportion of people know it.

Although there are campaigns for the Dutch Reach technique to be integrated into the Highway Code, until it is, the onus is on people like us, dedicated to helping cyclists avoid injury, to spread the word.

If you’d like to join us in trying to make the roads safer, we’ve designed a range of items you can share to help spread the word.

If, on the other hand, you’ve been the victim of somebody’s failure to look before opening their door contact our specialist team, to see if we can help you make a claim, on a no win no fee basis.. You can call us on 01904 556600 or contact us by email.

Tell everyone about the Dutch Reach

You can share these resources, online, or by printing them out, to help spread the word about the Dutch Reach.

A poster showing a cyclist nearly getting knocked off, by the driver of a car, opening their door into the cyclist’s path, with some text at the bottom encouraging people to learn the Dutch Reach.

 

A poster showing a cyclist nearly getting knocked off, by the driver of a car, opening their door into the cyclist’s path, with some text at the bottom encouraging people to learn the Dutch Reach.

 

A GIF showing a cyclist nearly getting knocked off, by the driver of a car, opening their door into the cyclist’s path, with some text at the bottom encouraging people to learn the Dutch Reach.