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Love someone who rides a bike? Learn the Dutch reach

If you know anybody who regularly rides a bicycle or a motorcycle, all you have to do is ask them about "dooring." You'll immediately learn that it's a serious problem.

"Dooring" is the term used to refer to situations where a passenger or driver in a car that's parked alongside the road opens their door into traffic and right into the path of an oncoming biker. Both bicyclists and motorcyclists are familiar with the phenomenon, and many narrowly escape serious injuries every year from such incidents.

Many others, unfortunately, aren't so lucky. A car door that's flung open at the wrong moment can lead to broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, fractured spines and more.

If you know anybody who rides a bike of any sort and you want to protect them, there's one easy thing you can do: Learn the Dutch Reach and teach it to everyone who rides with you. It's that simple.

The Dutch Reach involves just looking over the shoulder before you open a car door to make sure that nobody behind you on a bicycle or motorcycle is coming. The easiest way to do this is to train yourself to use the arm that's opposite the door handle (your right arm if you're on the driver's side of the vehicle, your left arm if you're on the passenger's side) as you open the door. That automatically makes you shift your body and turn your head, which helps you remember to look behind the vehicle -- not just ahead.

If you're a motorcyclist or a bicyclist who ends up "doored" by the careless occupant of a passenger vehicle, find out what you can do to obtain fair compensation for your injuries and losses. You shouldn't have to bear the financial burden of someone else's error.

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