What is the Dutch reach? Explaining the new addition to EU driving tests

What is the Dutch reach? Explaining the new addition to EU driving tests

If you’re yet to take your driving test in the European Union there is a new question that you should know about. Ever heard of the “Dutch reach”?

EU will tighten driving rules across the bloc

The EU is planning to introduce the “Dutch reach” as part of the requirements for all new drivers, to encourage learners to pay more attention to cyclists on the road.

Test takers will now be examined on how they open their door and whether or not they use the “Dutch reach” - a cross-body grip using the opposite hand to open the door so that drivers are more likely to look outside and prevent collisions with cyclists as they step out of the car. 

In the Netherlands, this method has been known for a long time, as the country has a strong cycling culture, but it does not yet form an official part of the Dutch driving test. In other countries, such as Belgium, many accidents are caused annually by drivers opening doors out onto passing cyclists.

The EU is keen to toughen driving rules across the trade bloc, for example by proposing lower alcohol limits for those who have recently obtained their driving licence and making the roads safer for cyclists.

Automatic assistance systems can fail to detect cyclists

Another motivation cited for spreading knowledge of the Dutch reach across the EU is that automatic assistance systems sometimes fail to detect approaching cyclists.

While it has been decided that the best manual protocol to follow is the “Dutch reach”, it is thought that this type of collision still causes many accidents involving cyclists and drivers in the Netherlands.

Thumb image credit: Galina_Lya /

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. After this, she obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in...

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