Friday, August 4, 2017

Can You Do the Dutch Reach?

I call myself a cyclist, but I’m not a commuter, and frankly, I’m a mediocre distance rider at best. But I cycle the streets of Seattle several days a week until inclement weather pushes me into a gym. I love the exercise, the fresh air, the world I see when I’m not within the confines of a vehicle.

I’m lucky. I’ve only had one accident. It was my own fault. No cars, pedestrians or dogs involved. I pulled too hard on my front brake as I dropped about three inches from pavement to gravel and went head first over my handlebars. My helmet saved me from serious injury.

I know some drivers grumble about the sharrows, those shared lane pavement markings we have in Seattle. Why are they so far into the lanes of traffic? Why can’t cyclists stay on the shoulder? Why can’t cyclists just drive? 
I’ll ignore the last grumble. As to cycling on the shoulder, where they aren't used for parking, shoulders are often uneven, graveled or littered with broken glass—all dangers on a bike. Where shoulders are designated parking areas, a cyclist has to stay deep enough into the lane to allow space for the random door swung open without a mirror check.

There were over 800 bike deaths and 45,000 reported injuries in the U.S. in 2015.  In over a third of those accidents, a car hit a cyclist.

Do you know the Dutch Reach? How many accidents could we prevent if we all learned this simple technique? Can you take a moment and click on this short video?
Let's give it a try, make it second nature, tell all our friends. I'm a cyclist, but I'm also a driver. I sure don’t want to hit a cyclist and I doubt you do either.

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