Car-dooring is a traffic collision involving a cyclist and a car door. They occur when a cyclist is hit by a car door being opened.
Why does car-dooring happen?
Quite simply, car-dooring takes place because people aren’t paying enough attention to their surroundings. Drivers need to be aware of where they are and what’s going on before opening the door. Cyclists need to be aware that the door might be opened and give themselves time to react accordingly.
The layout of some roads also contributes to incidents of car-dooring. For example, sometimes the bike lane is located in a ‘door zone’ – somewhere car doors open out into.
Finally, even seemingly innocuous things like the weather can play a part in car-dooring. If it’s raining, cyclists are likely to be riding head down, focused on just getting to their destination. Poor visibility also increases the likelihood of a car-dooring accident.
What are the legal issues surrounding car-dooring?
Most areas where car-dooring is a hazard have specific laws requiring motorists to check for cyclists before opening their doors.
Problems often arise with avoiding the 1.5m zone that should be part of the parking zone when there is a bike lane next to it. Other road users – and even some cyclists – feel like they should move as near to parked cars as possible. This is so they are out of the way of faster-moving traffic. However, doing this often puts the cyclist in danger.
How can car-dooring accidents be avoided?
In the Netherlands, drivers are taught to open the door with their opposite hand. This means the body twists so they can see behind them for any oncoming cyclists. There are campaigns to follow suit with this ‘Dutch Reach’ in the United Kingdom.
For cyclists, they should try and stay out of the door zone, especially when they can see the car has just parked.
Of course, in a car-dooring accident, it is the cyclist that almost always comes off worse. This is invariably the case with all traffic accidents with cyclists. Compared to a car, cyclists have precious little protection in the event of a road traffic accident.
If you are injured in a cycling accident that wasn’t your fault, remember that you could be due cycling injury compensation.
A quick call to our expert advisors at Accident Advice Helpline can set you on your way. Call 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from mobiles.
Date Published: May 6, 2017
Author: Accident Advice