Dooring: A serious, yet preventable, issue for cyclists

On Behalf of | May 29, 2023 | Bicycle Accidents |

Among the various hazards cyclists face, ‘dooring’ is often overlooked. Dooring refers to a situation where a parked vehicle’s door is suddenly opened into the path of an oncoming cyclist, leading to a potential collision. It can cause serious injury to cyclists, yet it’s largely preventable with increased awareness and careful action from motorists and passengers.

Understanding what dooring is, how it impacts cyclists and the steps everyone can take to prevent it can contribute to safer roads for all users.

The dangers of dooring for cyclists

When a vehicle door opens unexpectedly in a cyclist’s path, the cyclist may not have enough time or space to swerve safely out of the way. The result can be a direct collision with the door or the cyclist may fall into the path of moving traffic while trying to avoid the door.

These incidents can lead to severe injuries for cyclists, including fractures or head injuries. Fatalities are also possible.

Preventing dooring incidents

Preventing dooring primarily involves increasing awareness and instilling careful habits among drivers and passengers. Here are a few crucial steps that can help:

  • Look before you open: Always check for approaching cyclists before opening the vehicle door.
  • Practice the ‘Dutch reach’: Open your door with the hand farthest from it so you can turn your body and look for bicyclists.
  • Give parked cars space: If it’s safe and legal for cyclists, try to keep a door’s width of space between you and parked cars. 
  • Promote awareness: Driver’s education, public campaigns and shared road markings that remind drivers to look for cyclists can provide awareness.

The financial impacts dooring has on a cyclist are considerable. These victims may choose to seek compensation for those damages — and experienced legal guidance can help.