Tobin Copley, injury prevention lead at Fraser Health, demonstrates the Dutch Reach. (Photo: Fraser Health)

Tobin Copley, injury prevention lead at Fraser Health, demonstrates the Dutch Reach. (Photo: Fraser Health)

Fraser Health encourages drivers to do the ‘Dutch Reach’

It involves using your hand furthest from the door to open it

Fraser Health is hoping to encourage drivers to do the “Dutch Reach” when getting out of their vehicles.

This comes as the health authority says we “may be approaching pre-pandemic traffic levels with a lot of people sharing the road” as kids head back to school and workers head back to the office.

Fraser Health says the Dutch Reach, which was developed in the Netherlands “where cycling is king,” helps to keep everyone safe.

The Dutch Reach “involves using your hand furthest from the door to open it, forcing your upper body and head to turn outward, making it easier to turn around to get an unobstructed view of oncoming cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, people using wheelchairs or on scooters, or other vulnerable road users.”

Dr. Emily Newhouse, medical health officer with Fraser Health, said the technique is an “easy and effective way” for drivers to protect all road users.

“Mirrors alone don’t do the job due to blind spots, dirt, glare, or improper adjustment. The Dutch Reach is also important for rear passengers, who don’t have the benefit of mirrors.”

The Dutch Reach is designed to prevent “dooring” accidents where drivers open their doors into the path of cyclists, which can cause serious injury.

After parking and turning off the vehicle, Fraser Health says to:

1. Check both outside and inside rear-view/side mirrors for vehicles and cyclists

2. Using hand furthest from the door, reach across to the door latch

3. Check side mirror

4. Twisting further, looking out the side and back over outer shoulder for oncoming vulnerable road users

5. Unlatch door while keeping hand on the handle;

6. If safe, with other hand now assisting, open door a few inches and lean slightly out to gain a clear, unobstructed view back for approaching traffic.

7. When clear, open door slowly. Exit facing traffic, so you can continue to watch for oncoming hazards and go back into the car if required.

8. Still facing traffic, walk around back of vehicle, and off the roadway.



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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Fraser Health