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Do you know what a Dutch Reach is?

Do you remember your parents teaching you to look both ways before crossing the road when you were a child? Do you remember your parents teaching you to let a dog sniff your hand before you pet it? These are common safety measures that get ingrained into our heads until they're habits when we're children.

In The Netherlands, they have an additional habit they teach their kids, and it would be a good idea for Americans to start teaching their kids the habit, too. It's called the "Dutch Reach" and although the term sounds a little funny, it saves the lives of bicyclists because it prevents dooring accidents.

What's a Dutch Reach?

The Dutch Reach is a simple way to open you vehicle door by using your hand that's furthest away from the door. Whether you're a driver or a passenger, when you open your door, use the hand furthest away from you.

The Dutch Reach maneuver causes you to reach across your body, automatically resulting in your torso swiveling, so you can easily see behind you. It also means that your door will not quickly fly open -- potentially into the path of a bicyclist. Swiveling as you do, you'll be able to see behind you to make sure the way is clear before the door opens all the way.

Dutch children learn the technique in school

Dutch children learn this interesting trick from their teachers in school, and from their parents, at a very young age. In fact, the Dutch have been doing the Dutch Reach for fifty years.

With more bicyclists, more drivers, and more people distracted by their cellphones, it's time for Americans to "Teach the Reach," too. Indeed, this simple technique would prevent numerous deadly vehicle versus bicycle accidents -- called dooring accidents -- that affect bicyclists in Chicago and other areas of the United States.

If you or a loved one got hurt in a dooring accident, the person who opened his or her vehicle door may be financially liable for costs and damages resulting from the crash.

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