Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Many people who ride bicycles on the road come across to me as entitled jerks, demanding to be treated like pedestrians or automobiles -- whichever is more convenient to them at the moment -- my safety or theirs be damned. Despite that, I am in no hurry to act as an agent of natural selection or to get sued. So, no matter how cathartic it might be to watch that loop of a bicyclist getting "doored" at the following link, I am glad that there is an easy way to keep from doing it:
For decades now in the Netherlands drivers have been trained (and tested for their licenses) on a behavior that dramatically reduces the risk of doorings. They do not even have a name for it because it is simply how one opens a car door. Basically, instead of using their door-side (left) arm, they reach over with their other (right) arm. This simple behavioral shift causes drivers to look back naturally and see whether or not there are oncoming bicyclists. When doctor [Michael] Charney discovered that the Dutch have a solution to this problem, he became intrigued and ultimately started raising awareness of it in the United States. [italics in original, bold added]It's called the "Dutch Reach," and I am going to start cultivating the habit. Who knows? Maybe the accident I prevent will even be that of someone who is cognizant of safety and courtesy...