How the Dutch watch out for cyclists

In the U.K., the public transit agency turned to a marketing campaign built around a famous psychology experiment.

In the Netherlands, reports the NYT,

Dutch drivers are taught that when you are about to get out of the car, you reach for the door handle with your right hand — bringing your arm across your body to the door. This forces a driver to swivel shoulders and head, so that before opening the door you can see if there is a bike coming from behind. Likewise, every Dutch child has to pass a bicycle safety exam at school. The coexistence of different modes of travel is hard-wired into the culture.

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  • Thijsjan Meindertsma

    Hi, being Dutch and an owner of a Dutch drivers licence; i would like to comment that i was never instructed to use my right hand to open the car door, but to look into the sidemirror to check for any bikers or other traffic.

    Kind regards, Thijsjan Meindertsma

    • Rino Krux

      Same goes for me, I was never instructed to open the door with my right hand, however, I was thaught to check for passing cyclists

  • Epikouros

    I also have a Dutch driver’s licence and was taught the same as the previous two commenters. I think the steering wheel would get in the way if I tried to open the car door with my right hand. The driver’s licence test is quite difficult, but they don’t let you do impossible manoeuvres.

    The gist of the article is right, the Dutch do have an egalitarian bike-friendly culture, but there are more inaccurate details. 

    Taxi fares are not kept deliberately high in the Netherlands. The high rates result from various factors, in particular punitive taxes on fuel and new cars (especially the big diesel Mercedes-Benz’s and BMW’s that cabdrivers prefer), combined with a high resistance against competition among cabdrivers, who will not hesitate to beat up a colleague who doesn’t wait for his turn. As in any country where taxi fares are not regulated, visitors are ripped off when they hire a cab at the airport. A regular taxi trip within a city for a resident would cost around EUR 15/USD 20.

    Bulk buying is very popular among working people and in the countryside, if only because few shops are opened outside of office hours, as the article mentions, but Dutch people tend to keep bread in the freezer rather than buy some durable processed product.

    The current mayor of Amsterdam is a workaholic lawyer. I don’t think he goes to the supermarket very often. One reason why the former mayor and current opposition leader would do his own shopping is that his wife was in wheelchair, but I guess it is a sign of egalitarianism that he wouldn’t send an assistant.

  • HoldUp

    Toys (AKA BIkes) do not belong on vehicle roadways.

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    i think that’s a great idea. but it will need practice and most drivers will ignore that. if cyclist not a majority, like in dutch, then it will be hard to be practiced.

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