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Opening the car door with the right hand makes drivers more aware of passing bicyclists

Massachusetts has added the so-called ‘Dutch Reach’ (opening the car door with the hand further from it, to make ‘dooring’ bicyclists less likely) to its driver ed:

Oh boy, not another one. I gotta tell ya though opening a car door hitting a bike would be unusual in the Netherlands. Getting run over by one of those silent bikes going 30 mph is more likely. If you hear that little bell on their handle bars jingling, you’d better get out of the way fast because they don’t care who they hit. Been there done that.

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Well, maybe true, but then if you open the door with the other foot you might get a better chance to check for bikes. Even better, if you crawl in the trunk and get out of there the chance of hitting anything other than your own head would be minuscule.

Can’t we just teach people to look back?


Very true. The problem I had in Amsterdam is that the bike lanes are poorly differentiated from the pedestrian lanes, usually by a color change that varies from street to street. Other problems are motor scooters (and motorcycles) using the bile lanes moving fast, and both bikes and scooters veering onto the pedestrian lanes when the bike lane is clogged.

I checked, and it is legal for motor scooters up to a certain (vague) size to use the bike lanes.

Once as a teen on a bicycle I had a lady open her car door as I was peddling by. Sent me sprawling to the pavement but no serious injury. Scared her more than me. I actually felt sorry for her and had to convince her I was OK. But, anyone who parks parallel on a street or in a parking lot and opens the door without first checking the side mirror deserves to have a dump truck take off their door :slight_smile:

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That’s not just a problem on the streets of The Netherlands!
I take my power-walks on the old towpath adjoining the Delaware & Raritan Canal. The rules in that state park–like in all other state parks–is that bicyclists are supposed to yield to pedestrians, and that everyone is supposed to yield to horses and their riders.

When I first began walking that towpath, about 18 years ago, it was usual for cyclists to warn you of their approach by calling out, “On your left, bike coming up”–or something to that effect. Or, they might ring a bell to warn you of their approach. However, in today’s self-absorbed society, I would estimate that fewer than 10% of the cyclists warn people of their approach. Even worse, they sometimes ride two abreast.

One of these days, an older person–like me–is going to be so startled by one of these encroaching bikes that he just might wind up pushing the bike and rider into the canal.

A bicyclist is about to pass a car with a person standing at the car door. Don’t they have as much responsibility to look for the door as I do when driving my car?

When I open the car door to get in I only open it to the first detent. That is about as wide as I am and a bicyclist is not much more likely to hit the door than to hit me.

I’ve had a few close calls walking in Boston with bikers. Most are just as obnoxious as the people who drive there. I’ve seen them knock old ladies and kids down and keep on flying down the street or sidewalk. They don’t obey any traffic laws.

And that’s the problem right there. Bikers don’t think traffic laws apply to them. Admittedly riding close to parked cars is perfectly legal but not all that smart. When I ride I watch for people in parked cars and assume every one of them is ready to open their doors in my path. Assume the worst, smile when better happens.

JT, when I read the article I believe they are talking about getting out of the vehicle from inside.

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I drive cars (I have several) nearly every day.
I ride bikes (I have several) nearly every day.
I even keep a bike in the trunk(s) of my car(s).
Cars and bicycles don’t mix well.

However, I was also an experienced motorcycle owner/operator. Cars and motorcycles don’t mix well. I never had any accidents.

There is all kinds of stuff in training manuals for drivers and laws on the books that drivers don’t know, don’t heed, won’t learn, or forget. We’ve had many discussions about that right here.

Because cars have an advantage in a collision, the best advice I could give to a motorcycle rider or to a bicycle rider is to Ride like you are invisible. (because in reality you are often just that to car operators).

On a bicycle when I approach stopped a car with a driver in it I assume the driver will not see me and also that the door can open suddenly. I ride accordingly.

There are old bike riders and bold bike riders, but there are no old, bold bike riders.


Maybe they could put mirrors in and outside the vehicle so a person could check the area behind them. Oh wait, they already do.


I have a habit, don’t know when I developed it, of looking in the rear view mirror when I’m about to open the door.


and not invincible.


I always look out of the driver’s door rear view mirror before opening the door too. It doesn’t matter whether it is a car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian, I don’t want to open my door into a collision.

Side note: a guy i used to work with opened his driver’s side door at a gas pump and someone trying to drive past hit his door. My friend was at fault because he should have made sure the way was clear to open the door, even though there was almost no space between the curb and his car.

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I’m trying to remember the last time I parallel parked on a street. Maybe once or twice a year. Usually its a parking lot or my garage without much bike traffic. I’m starting to think there should be a law against pens.

In Athens pedestrian sidewalks appear to also be for motor scooters! Scooter riders also seem to be unaware that the scooters are equipped with a horn. If you hear the scooter sound behind you dive into a doorway or flatten against a wall. The scooter riders also seemed to be unaware the scooters are equipped with adjustable throttles and brakes. Never escape a scooter by jumping into the street. The four wheeled traffic is even more insane. They had pedestrian crosswalks and signals similar to ours but it was definitely: Red man. Dead man. Yellow man. Run! Forest. Run! I’m sure Greece has traffic laws but no one obeys them.

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Our DMV issues a new driver manual every 2 years. Similar to military manuals the first page lists any changes with page numbers. Unfortunately I’m convinced that less drivers read the driver manual than read their vehicle operator’s manual.
I gave up motorcycles in 1973. I never had an accident but had several close calls and got tired of being invisible. Last year when I renewed my driver license I faced reality and did not renew my motorcycle endorsement.

The last time I parallel parked in a city business district was November 2015. It was on the left side of a one way street so I opened my door towards a deserted sidewalk.

Good thing a Greek on a scooter wasn’t approaching. :slightly_smiling_face: