Quebec Introduced A New 'Dutch Reach' Rule So Drivers Don't Accidentally Slam Cyclists

Or anyone else, for that matter.

Staff Writer
Cyclists ride past parked cars in the Montreal Old Port on a summer day.

Cyclists ride past parked cars in the Montreal Old Port on a summer day.

The Dutch reach, "pivot technique" or "far-hand method," is a way of opening your car door safely to avoid "dooring" oncoming cyclists — something that can quickly become very dangerous, if the right precautions aren't taken.

Quebec's Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) has introduced this technique into its Road Safety Education Program (RSEP) and in the guides used by student drivers and instructors, according to SAAQ spokesperson Anne Marie Dussault Turcotte.

Dussault Turcotte confirmed via email that the guide on Driving a Passenger Vehicle's sharing-the-road section has been updated to include the far-hand method as a way to apply the Observe-Evaluate-Act (OEA) strategy while leaving a vehicle. The SAAQ recommends checking the rearview mirror and the blind spot before opening the door, which the Dutch reach facilitates.

To complete the Dutch reach, drivers use the hand opposite their door (the far hand, get it?) to open it, which forces drivers to check both in front of and behind their door, looking for approaching cyclists before blocking their path.

Driving schools were notified of this new integration in December 2022.

The SAAQ emphasizes that other road users can also become victims of dooring, including "moped riders, motorcyclists and motorists," Turcotte told MTL Blog.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Willa Holt
Staff Writer
Willa Holt is a Creator for MTL Blog, often found covering weird and wonderful real estate and local politics from her home base in Montreal.