Learn to Reach for Safety - The Dutch Reach Saves Lives

Learn to Reach for Safety…

Bereiken mean reach in Dutch.

What does that have to do with safety in America? Plenty.

The Dutch are taught from early years to be alert and aware of cyclists. The Netherlands is an almost pancake flat country with many cyclists present, even in the major cities. Cyclists are ubiquitous, as are dedicated bike lanes and drivers and pedestrians inured to be aware of them.

The Dutch Reach

Dutch reach prevents bike accidents dooring

The dutch reach is incredibly easy to understand. Next time you parallel park, before getting out from the driver’s side, analyze which hand you open the door with. If you’re like nearly every American, you do it with your left hand. This means you are never making a head check for cyclists in your door’s path (insert blog re “dooring and cycling”). Similarly, if you are exiting the passenger side next to a bike lane, use your left hand to open the door.

The dutch reach simply reverses things. Instead of opening your driver’s side door with your left hand, the Dutch are taught to use their right hand. This forces the driver to look backward at traffic and spot any oncoming cyclists before opening his or her door.

Watch this video from Outside on how to do the Dutch Reach.

If It Ain’t Beriken, Why Fix It?

The fact is, motorist are not always alert and aware of cyclists in our country. While cities like Chicago are becoming hotbeds of bicycling with dedicated bike lanes and shared bicycles, the awareness of drivers is still not there.

The dutch reach is just one more habitual reminder that can force us to become more aware of cyclists and to remind ourselves to look out for them routinely.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have the misfortune of becoming injured in a cycling crash or dooring incident, call a personal injury lawyer immediately.


  • Open your car door with the opposite hand. If opening the right-hand side door, use your left. If opening the left-hand side door, use the right.
  • Be alert and aware of cyclists and pedestrians at all times, but especially near dedicated bike lanes.
  • If you are unfortunately involved in a dooring incident, make a police report, get medical treatment, and contact a lawyer.
  • If you cause a dooring incident, make a police report, report this to your insurer, and make no statements to anyone.

Contact Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Stephen Hoffman

As in all cases involving injury and potential liability, immediately get medical treatment, report the crash to police and your own insurance company, and contact a personal injury lawyer.

If you've been in an accident and have questions, contact Chicago personal injury attorney Stephen L. Hoffman for a free consultation at (773) 944-9737. Stephen has nearly 30 years of legal experience and has collected millions of dollars for his clients. He has been named a SuperLawyer, has a 10.0 rating on Avvo, and is BBB A+ accredited. He is also an Executive Level Member of the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce.

Stephen handles personal injury and workers' compensation claims on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything upfront and he only gets paid if you do. Don’t wait another day, contact Stephen now.

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