Do it the Dutch way! – Please read this and share

I heard about this when I attended the meeting at the Town Hall earlier this month. The Dutch are taught when learning to drive to open the driver’s door with their opposite arm, thus forcing them to look over their shoulder and reducing the distance by which the door can be opened. Failure to do so is a driving test failure…. It’s such a simple thing, a habit that needs re-learning could save so many potential collisions.

There is evidence here from 2011 of a campaign  in Victoria, Australia to promote this habit change:

Cyclists in bound on Brunswick st Fitzroy.
Cyclists on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy. Photo: Andrew De La Rue

DRIVERS getting out of parked cars have been urged to open the door with their left hand to better detect, and protect, oncoming cyclists.

The call came after two cyclists were injured on Tuesday night – one in Dromana and one in Southbank – after colliding with open car doors and falling from their bikes.

It also follows the death of cyclist James Cross in Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn, last year after a driver opened her door into his path and he went under a truck. Coroner Heather Spooner said it ”highlighted a very significant public safety hazard”.

Bicycle Victoria chief executive Harry Barber said yesterday people should be encouraged to open driver-side doors with their left hands. ”If you are a driver and you are doing a lot of parking in and around the city where there are bike lanes, you use your left hand to reach across to the door … What that does is it brings your attention to the wing mirror,” he said.

Mr Barber said cyclists should also look for indicator or brake lights and a head in the driver’s seat as warning signs.

He also said cyclists should ride at least one metre from parked cars where possible. Mr Barber said moving more bike lanes closer to footpaths would protect cyclists the most.

”The main thing is we want to get to a stage where the infrastructure is doing most of the work and we’re not relying on people remembering, and that is where the curbside lanes come in,” he said.

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