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What is dooring, and why are cyclists predisposed to it?

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2024 | Car Accidents

Sharing the road is a necessity, but it can sometimes feel like a dangerous and chaotic undertaking, especially for cyclists. One of the most common yet preventable dangers cyclists face is called “dooring.” What exactly is it, and why are cyclists so susceptible?

Dooring refers to a situation wherein a driver opens their car door directly into the path of a moving cyclist. This unexpected obstacle can cause serious injury or even death for the cyclist, who often has little time to react.

Factors that make cyclists more prone to dooring incidents

A car’s door pillar creates a significant blind spot for drivers. This can make it difficult for them to see cyclists approaching from the side, especially when parked close to traffic.

Additionally, cyclists often ride close to parked cars to avoid traffic or debris on the road. Unfortunately, this positioning may put them in the danger zone when a door swings open.

Inattentive drivers sometimes open their doors while still looking inside the vehicle to grab something they forgot, check their phone or tend to a child. This lack of awareness before opening the door is another recipe for disaster.

Furthermore, not all car doors are created equal. Large, heavy SUV doors can create a wider swing, further increasing the danger zone for cyclists compared to smaller car doors.

Consequences of dooring

The consequences of dooring accidents can be devastating. Cyclists may collide with the door itself, swerve into traffic to avoid it or be thrown off balance and into oncoming vehicles.

Drivers can help ensure the safety of the cyclists they share the roads with by embracing the Dutch reach. This technique involves using the far hand to open the door, which naturally forces the driver to turn their body and check their blind spot before opening.

Drivers can also go the extra mile to always check mirrors and blind spots before opening their doors and maintain awareness of cyclists, especially when parked on busy roads.

Cyclists can also minimize their chances of slamming into a door by maintaining a safe distance from parked cars, especially when riding on busy roads. It can also help cyclists to make eye contact with drivers whenever possible. Ultimately, cyclists should always be prepared to slow down or swerve if they see a driver reaching for the door.

Dooring accidents are preventable. By being aware of the dangers and taking proper precautions, both drivers and cyclists can share the road safely. That said, cyclists should remember that they can pursue compensation for their injuries following a dooring incident, should one occur.