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Bicycle Coalition

The “Dutch Reach” is now an official part of the PA Driver’s Manual (page 93).

The Dutch Reach is a technique whereby a driver is trained to open the car door with their right hand (or left, if exiting on the passenger side of the car), which forces the body to turn towards the sideview mirror, making seeing a cyclists more likely. Also, the door opens with an initial “pop” of a short distance due to the restricted ability of the right arm to fully open the door, giving passing cyclists valuable time to react in case the driver still doesn’t see them.

The Dutch Reach now appears in the PA Driver’s Manual, largely because of the work of the PA Pedestrian and Pedalcycle Advisory Committee, which our executive director, Sarah Clark Stuart, chairs.

This elevates the conversation around door opening in general, and reminds drivers that “dooring” crashes are the fault of motorists, and not cyclists — a fact that many drivers do not know.

Education is an important part of making Vision Zero initiatives work, so we applaud PennDOT for making this change.

We also thank our members, whose support made this victory happen. We look forward to more educational changes in future manual updates that will continue to retrain Pennsylvania’s drivers to consider the safety of other road users as their responsibility too.

Leonard Bonarek

Author

In 2016, Leonard entered his third career: city planning. Previous to joining Bicycle Coalition, he had 7 years’ experience working in social services, and 10 years’ hard labor in the maritime industry, in addition to several years of intern and volunteer experience with our organization and Neighborhood Bike Works.

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