• Do You Use The Dutch Reach?

  • How Many Times Has This Happened To You? The driver of a parked car opens the door without checking over the shoulder
  • The Dutch Reach By reaching over with the hand farthest from the door, it forces you to look over your shoulder
  • Better Visibility It's not just bicycles that are vulnerable: motorcyclists can also fall prey to the unobservant motorist

It can contribute to road safety. Honestly!

LISTEN 01:45

Stop sniggering. The Dutch Reach is not rude or suggestive: rather, it is a way of opening your car door with regard to the safety of other road users.

Safety to Motorcyclists

Do You Use The Dutch Reach?
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How Many Times Has This Happened To You?
The driver of a parked car opens the door without checking over the shoulder

If you have access to a copy of the British Highway Code, a book that details the rules of the road in the UK, you will come across a strange item called the Dutch Reach.

Your initial reaction might be that you’ve stumbled across a misprint but it is a real thing and it relates to road safety, especially for cyclists and motorcyclists.

In short, it is the action of reaching to open a car door with the hand furthest away from the door. By doing this, it forces the upper body to turn towards the door, enabling the driver to spot vulnerable road users who might be passing close by the stationary car.

Do You Use The Dutch Reach?
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The Dutch Reach
By reaching over with the hand farthest from the door, it forces you to look over your shoulder

Implemented under Rule 239 of the ‘Waiting and Parking’ chapter, the new rule will read:

“You should open the door using your hand on the opposite side to the door you are opening, e.g. use your left hand to open a door on your right-hand side.

“This will make you turn your head to look over your shoulder. You are then more likely to avoid causing injury to cyclists or motorcyclists passing you on the road, or to people on the pavement.”

Do You Use The Dutch Reach?
- image 1025136
Better Visibility
It’s not just bicycles that are vulnerable: motorcyclists can also fall prey to the unobservant motorist

It may be something that you automatically do when opening your car door, especially if you are a motorcyclist as well. But many drivers are oblivious to other road users around them and this rule, which will be taught to new learners, is just one small thing they can adopt to avoid causing an accident.

So, there’s something you can drop into polite conversation, sitting back to observe the effect before dazzling people with your knowledge.

Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
Motorcycling Contributor
Born and raised in England, he has lived in South Africa with his family since 2002. Harry has owned examples of Triumph, Norton, BSA, MV Agusta, Honda, BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Kawasaki and Moto Morini motorcycles. He regrets selling all of them.  Read full bio
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