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Massachusetts Department of Transportation to advise drivers to use Dutch Reach

Not a legal requirement, but the method is being promoted to protect cyclists

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has added the Dutch Reach method of opening car doors to its driver’s manual. The method is not a law or a requirement, but a suggestion to promote safety, hopefully reducing the number of cyclists who are being doored.

The Dutch Reach involves motorists opening their door with their opposite hand, twisting them around so that they can’t help but look behind them, reducing the chances of a dooring incident.

The Boston Globe reports that police responded to 202 dooring incidents in the city between 2009 and 2012.

The state’s driver’s manual now informs drivers that car doors can be a danger for cyclists and advises: “1. Check your rear-view mirror. 2. Check your side-view mirror. 3. Open the door with your far hand, (the hand farther from the door).”

The method may be added to the driver’s education curriculum at a later date, but will not be a reason for failing a test.

Massachusetts resident Michael Charney claims to have coined the term ‘Dutch Reach’ and promotes the method via the website. He has worked with the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV), cycling campaign groups, and state legislators to bring the initiative to his home state and said he was surprised at how quickly he was able to get something implemented.

“It’s incredible. This is a bingo. This is a set-point goal. This is what I was aiming for.”

MassDOT and the RMV have also created the video above, demonstrating the method.

Erin Deveney, registrar of motor vehicles, commented: “As we continue to promote all modes of transportation in today’s world, the RMV is working hard to ensure that drivers and bicyclists can each get where they need to be safely.

“By adding new bicycle safety language to the driver’s manual, we aim to further clarify the responsibilities that bicyclists and motorists inherit when they travel on Massachusetts roads.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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