Dodging doors is a daily hazard for Alberta cyclists. Every year, about 7,500 cyclists are seriously injured in collisions with motor vehicles—with as many as one in five accidents involving car doors. But there is a no-tech way to protect cyclists and improve safety for all road users. Common practice in the Netherlands, the so-called “Dutch reach” is a very simple manoeuvre whereby drivers open a parked vehicle door using their right hand, forcing them to look left for approaching bikes. Safety advocates in Alberta increasingly “preach the reach” as an effective way to prevent dooring injuries. Here’s how you do it.
Move right hand across your chest toward the door handle.
Your shoulders and neck will naturally swivel to the left.
Check mirrors and look over your shoulder for oncoming cyclists.
When the coast is clear, slowly open your door and exit the vehicle.
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Additional road safety tips on how to avoid collisions with animals.
CYCLISTS REACH OUT
Before signaling, shoulder check that it’s safe to extend your arm. Signal well ahead of a turn and do one more shoulder check to ensure it’s safe to turn. Put both hands back on the handlebars to complete your turn.
Reduce speed and give cyclists some space. When turning left, yield to oncoming cyclists; if you’re turning right, check for cyclists approaching
behind you. When passing a cyclist, leave at least 1.5 metres between your vehicle and the bike.