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This is part of a multi-part reflection I've been doing following the death of my friend, Mark Baumer . There's nothing graphic i...

The Dutch Reach: A Response

I promised Dr. Charney that I would publish his letter, sent from the U.K. Nice to know someone out there is reading!

I haven't seen my video yet, so I'm not sure how the comments were diced. I talked with Tony Gugliotta for at least a half and hour about this, gave a lot of finer points about the details and design that go into bike infrastructure. I of course know that my comments are going to be cut up and refashioned into soundbites. If someone comes across the video, I'd appreciate seeing it (I was on the news three times this week and haven't seen any of them). :-)
Here's my position on the Dutch Reach. The Dutch have moved far beyond the Dutch Reach. If ever it was important in the past, it is not now. We need protected bike lanes that are built without a door zone. "Forgiving design" is a term engineers use (I am not an engineer, just to avoid the cease-and-desist letters that might flow if that's not made clear). Engineers use that term for things like extra wide lanes on a highway that allow a car to swerve without going out of its lane, or the removal of "fixed barriers" (trees, walls) from the "clear zone" (shoulder, breakdown lane) on swervy back roads. These designs, applied to cities, have created havoc and destruction by encouraging speeding. But forgiven design of a different kind-- building bike lanes to be idiot-proof, door proof-- is something we should do.

Expert David Hembrow has more to say. 

Don't let us down, Bruce! Broadway at 2014's Park(ing) Day.

1 comment:

  1. re: "If ever it was important in the past, it is not now."
    Why so exclusive of solutions? All are partial. All will take time to implement. The problem has multiple parts and solutions exist to address each.

    While the advantages of well designed separated & protected bike lanes are manifest and should be pursued, infrastructure implementation has its own hurdles: cost, politics ie street (parking) fights, narrow streets, non-universal applicability for all streets or routes, etc. You need to do battle with municipal gov't, vested interests, slow bureaucracies, budget hearings, planning hearings, street repair schedules etc. Not insurmountable and certainly worth doing, but often hard and none comprehensive.

    For the Dutch Reach, the time, cost & effort it took me to persuade the Mass. RMV Dir. of Licensing to include it in the Driver's Manual was a couple of phone calls and a couple of hours drafting emails etc. For activists to do so in another willing state, all heavy lifting is already done: Copy it from the 2017 Mass. Driver's Manual, page 109!~ Hundreds of driving instructors, driving programs and high school classes will begin teaching this thoughtlessly better habit. Some students will actually continue to use it for the rest of their lives. If advocacy groups and the state DOT campaign for its general adoption by the already licensed, by Uber & Lyft drivers & passengers, in elementary schools etc. it will percolate and gradually get used regularly by those who have made it their habit.

    The Licensing Dept is a separate entity from your local gov't or even your state legislature. It affects drivers who after all, are the ones responsible for most of the doorings. It also works for passengers, front & back - and works even with out a side-view mirror (as when exiting the back seat).

    Why reject something that is simple, cheap, and when and where ever used, works????

    Michael Charney, MD (retired) & car free in Boston since 1992 (stated for cred!)

    Dutch Reach Project
    @dutchreach #dutchreach on Twitter.