You’re behind the wheel of your car, having just brought the vehicle to a halt. With the parking brake pulled up and the engine killed, you’re ready to hop out. Having done so a million times before, you don’t really think about what you’re doing. But in actual fact, there’s a proper way of opening the door – and it’s particularly important in the Netherlands.
Across the Netherlands, cycling is a hugely popular means of transportation. Significant portions of the population travel by bike, with a reported 36 percent claiming cycling as their preferred method of getting from one point to another. And in cities, this figure is actually more significant. In Amsterdam, for instance, it rises to 38 percent.
In order to cope with the prevalence of cyclists in the Netherlands, appropriate infrastructure has been developed. Moreover, the country’s drivers have adopted some good habits to show consideration to the more vulnerable road users. In fact, the Dutch utilize a basic technique for exiting a car – and it’s actually one that’s worth bearing in mind everywhere.
This technique is known as the Dutch Reach, and it’s very simple. Basically, instead of opening a car’s door with the hand nearest to the handle, use the one that’s furthest away. This causes your body to turn in such a way as to allow for a better view of what’s outside. Additionally, this position means that you can see your mirrors more clearly.
In essence, the Dutch Reach means you’ll be more likely to see any cyclists speeding past your vehicle. Instead of blindly opening your door and knocking someone off their bike, you can simply allow them to pass safely. All in all, this technique is extremely simple, but it can ultimately save lives.