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The dangers of dooring accidents


Bicycling continues to grow in popularity. Traveling by bike skyrocketed during a time not so long ago when people were ordered to stay at home due to a worldwide pandemic. Desperate for outdoor activities, many turned to the two-wheel, non-motorized transports.

As with any type of travel, riding a bicycle has its share of risks, particularly when sharing the road with cars and trucks. When collisions do occur, the outcome is usually predictable. The cyclist will suffer serious, if not life-threatening, injuries.

For bicyclists, an unlikely part of a car represents a significant danger even when the motor vehicle is parked.

The door.

A simple maneuver to prevent collisions

Far too many drivers swing their doors open after parking, not considering the possibility that bicyclists are approaching. Even long-awaited and much-needed bike lanes to improve safety have actually resulted in an increase of what is now referred to as “dooring” accidents.

The problem is not complicated. In fact, the solution to these collisions has its origin on the other side of the world. The fairly simple safety maneuver is called the Dutch Reach.

Drivers are accustomed to opening doors with their left hand that is closest to the handle, creating somewhat of a blind spot. Switching to their right-hand forces them to turn their bodies towards the road, significantly increasing the chances of seeing an approaching bicycle.

The move is not universal among Dutch drivers. However, citizens maintain a greater awareness of bicyclists due to their prominence on roads throughout the country.

The term originated in the Netherlands, where bicycles are the preferred mode of transportation. Those who do take driver’s education courses are taught the maneuver as part of the curriculum. The important safety measure has also found its way to driver’s training in the United States.

Distracted operation of a motor vehicle is far too common. More bicycles are sharing the road than ever before. Awareness is paramount, particularly when the simple act of opening a car door can lead to serious injuries.