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Road Safety Week – How to Avoid ‘Dooring’

Posted on November 22nd 2018

This week is Road Safety Week, an initiative started by Brake in 1997.

This year Brake are encouraging all road users to be ‘bike smart’ to protect cyclists and motorcyclists on our roads. Sadly, bike users are disproportionately killed and injured.

If you are travelling by bike you are more vulnerable because your vehicle offers you little protection – in a crash, your body will take a lot of the impact. Comparatively, if you crash in a car you are protected by the car’s safety cage and crumple zones.

In the past year ‘dooring,’ a type of traffic collision that primarily affects people on bikes, has gained more attention in the press. As part of road safety week, this article discusses how you can become more bike smart by avoiding dooring. Continue reading to learn more.

What is dooring?

Dooring is a type of traffic collision where a cyclist or motorcyclist rides into a car door, or is struck by a car door, that has been opened quickly without checking for bike users.

A bike user can be doored by any of a vehicle’s doors, whether they are the driver or a passenger.

Unfortunately, it is difficult for bike users to see and quickly react to a door suddenly opening. According to UK government statistics, between 2011 and 2015 eight people were killed and 3,108 were injured in accidents involving car doors being opened and closed ‘negligently.’ Of course, these figures only take into account reported accidents so the actual figures may be much higher.

Car dooring happens more often in urban areas where there are more cars likely to be parked along the roads. High risk areas may include taxi ranks and roads outside schools.

Is car dooring illegal?

Car dooring is illegal under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986.

However, the offence can only receive a maximum punishment of a £1000 fine.

How can car dooring be prevented?

As the driver or passenger in a car you can prevent dooring by using the Dutch Reach’ method of opening the door. This means that you open the door by reaching across your body with the most distant hand. This often feels like you are using the ‘wrong’ hand.

This method forces you to turn your body and head to look outward and scan for traffic. This method became popular between the 1960s and 80s when Dutch road fatalities numbered in the thousands.

As a cyclist or motorcyclist you can ride further out into the road when riding past parked cars. This means that you should be far enough away from cars that their doors cannot reach you, and that the people inside the cars are more likely to see you. You should also make sure that you have good lights when you are riding in dim lighting or at night.

How can we help?

If you are a cyclist or motorcyclist who has been hit and injured by a car door then we may be able to help you claim compensation. We help clients every day claim compensation after they have been injured in accidents. Read about our services here or call us today on 01244 312306.

Call and speak to a lawyer on 01244 312306