The introduction of the Dutch reach (‘Dutch reach’) has been campaigned for for years. The exiting driver then used the hand furthest from him to open the door. Then they can more easily look behind or approach other road users, such as cyclists.
That Britain is now introducing the rules was welcomed by activist Jeff Boulton. He lost his son in a road accident in 2016. “Like most people, we knew nothing about the Dutch hold until Sam was killed,” he said, according to the BBC. “If we had adjusted the rules 55 years ago when the Dutch came up with this, Sam would still be alive today.”
Cycling UK is also pleased with the amendments to the traffic rules. Cycling organizations say that although Britons are unfamiliar with the Dutch grip, the method is easy to learn and can save lives.
Dutch reach from 1961
The Dutch range was first described in De Telegraaf in 1961: a line drawing depicting a collision between a cyclist and a door. A 1961 article explained how the driver should open the door: “Always open the left door with the right hand and the right door with the left. Then you have to turn around. Will we get used to it? A little effort and you will see that the number of accidents due to doors suddenly opening is rapidly decreasing.”
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