Can the 'Dutch reach' save cyclists' lives?

A cyclist died on Monday in New York City because a driver in a parked car opened the door without looking behind them. 

Now, a retired doctor is hoping people will try a method of opening car doors to prevent such incidents, called the “Dutch reach.” 

Dr. Michael Charney says that the Dutch reach requires the driver to open the car door with the opposite hand, forcing your body to twist and look behind you.

“As you reach across and as you open the door slightly, you can look directly back with a very good shoulder check,” Charney said.

However, New Yorkers are nothing if not stubborn and many say they don’t expect the “Dutch reach” to catch on, especially because of cultural differences between the US and Holland.

“In Holland, the majority of the population own bicycles, they ride bicycles, the city’s built for bicycles. In New York, we’re still prioritizing cars first,” said Danny Harris, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. 

Harris says he believes that the “Dutch reach” is a small tool towards the larger solution of creating more protected bike lanes.