The RMV reports it will add instructions on a new door-opening technique to the official new-driver manual in an attempt to reduce the number of bicyclist doorings.
The new content in the Driver’s Manual concerning the "Dutch Reach" method for drivers disembarking from vehicles explains the standard practice for opening a vehicle door in the Netherlands, a place widely considered to be a model for bicycle transportation. By reaching to open the door of a parallel-parked car, a driver is asked to open the door with his or her hand which is furthest from the door. With this technique of reaching for the handle, the driver’s body is forced to begin turning to the left, making it easier for the driver to see bicyclists who may be in the blind spot of a motorist’s mirror.
The revised manual also has advice on bicycle lanes, specifically the ones that are more than just lines painted on the pavement:
Also outlined in the updated Driver’s Manual are clear instructions for driving on roads with separated bicycle lanes, which physically separate bicycle traffic from motorized traffic, and which are distinct from painted on-road bike lanes. A key part of MassDOT’s initiative to build and advocate for more “Complete Streets,” which take into account the needs of motorists, transit users, bicyclists, pedestrians and people with disabilities, separated bicycle lanes have become more common in municipalities like Boston, Cambridge, Somerville. The new language pertaining to separated bicycle lanes stipulates that they are not intended for pedestrians, that “[at] intersections, drivers must stop at the line to allow pedestrians and bicyclists to cross safely. When turning right, drivers must yield to pedestrians and bicyclists who are crossing.” The added text also mandates that bicyclists ride in the proper direction of travel in separated bicycle lanes and must yield to pedestrians.