Why dooring remains a common threat for cyclists

On Behalf of | Mar 6, 2024 | Bicycle Accidents |

When it comes to road safety, cyclists face a unique and dangerous challenge known as dooring. This phenomenon occurs when a cyclist collides with the door of a parked vehicle that is suddenly opened without warning. The consequences can be severe, leading to injuries ranging from minor bruises to fatal accidents.

Despite its potential for serious injury, dooring incidents continue to happen with alarming regularity. Understanding the reasons behind this prevalence is crucial to raising awareness and preventing future accidents.

Inattention and lack of awareness

One of the primary factors contributing to dooring is driver inattention. In the moments before exiting their vehicle, drivers may be preoccupied with unbuckling seatbelts, checking phones or attending to passengers. This may lead to them overlooking cyclists approaching from behind. Additionally, the blind spots created by vehicle pillars can further hinder a driver’s awareness of cyclists, especially those positioned closer to the door.

Improper door-opening technique

Another key reason for dooring incidents is drivers’ incorrect technique when exiting their vehicles. The habit of simply reaching across the body to open the door, known as “near-side dooring,” creates a dangerous zone for cyclists who may be traveling nearby. This practice significantly increases the risk of the door impacting a passing cyclist.

The adoption of the “Dutch Reach” technique can significantly reduce the risk of dooring. This method involves drivers using the hand furthest from the door to open it, naturally forcing them to turn their bodies and check their blind spot for approaching cyclists.

Infrastructure and road design

While driver behavior is a significant contributing factor, infrastructure and road design can also play a role in dooring incidents. Narrow lanes that force cyclists and vehicles to share limited space, or a lack of dedicated cycling infrastructure, can contribute to situations where cyclists are positioned close to car doors, increasing the risk of collision.

Investing in improved infrastructure, such as dedicated cycling lanes and wider roads with increased separation between cyclists and traffic, can mitigate the risk of dooring incidents. By prioritizing the safety of cyclists through infrastructure improvements and promoting safe driving practices, municipalities can create safer roads for all.

Dooring remains a common and dangerous threat for cyclists due to a combination of factors, including driver inattention, improper door-opening techniques and inadequate infrastructure. Cyclists who have been doored by an inattentive driver can benefit from seeking legal guidance to find out how to hold drivers accountable for their harm.