What You Should Know About Dooring Collisions and How You Can Prevent Them - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Friday, 21 April 2017

What You Should Know About Dooring Collisions and How You Can Prevent Them

#AskRobertGabor

If you stop at a parking area or near a curb and throw open the vehicle’s door, are you checking to ensure there’s no one there first? Most people don’t think twice and assume that all is safe once they have arrived at their destination, but this false sense of security is contributing to a growing number of serious door accidents involving cyclists. Cyclists may be passing by and easily missed in a person’s scoping the area before opening a car, but the weight of the car door can leave a cyclist paying the price for another person’s carelessness.

Dooring Collisions More Common Across Canada

The number of collisions involving cyclists on the roads of Canada is on the rise. These accidents are often referred to as dooring collisions. This occurs anytime that a motor vehicle hits a cyclist when opening their car door into traffic. Between 2015 and 2016 in some locations across Canada, these collisions increased by up to nearly 60%.

On-street parking and streets that have streetcar tracks are over represented in this data. This suggests that infrastructure in these areas does not do enough to prevent cyclists from being significantly injured. This is one of the leading reasons that safety advocates are arguing for greater bike lanes which can help to give bicyclists just enough room to avoid being struck by a door. Unfortunately, many cities across Canada do not have appropriate bike lanes already built.

Although separated bike lanes have recently been installed in more city locations than ever, the number of dooring collisions is still increasing. Cyclists have to maintain some level of responsibility for monitoring drivers’ behavior but they should not have to expect that at any time someone is going to throw their car door open without checking the area. In many situations that have on-street parking or on-street with streetcar tracks, for example, it is extremely difficult for a cyclist to avoid riding in the door zone.

Advocates who are supporting decreased cyclist injuries argue that some cities in Canada should consider banning ride sharing pickups, taxi pickups and drop offs in hot spot locations where dooring collisions are most likely to occur. Alternative pick up zones and drop off spots could help to decrease the number of cyclists who are suffering with catastrophic injuries.

A cyclist who is struck when a car door is thrown open unexpectedly could suffer catastrophic injuries and find it difficult to recover for weeks or even months. Broken bones, fractures, lacerations, internal bleeding, and traumatic head injuries are just a couple of the most common injuries associated with bicycle accidents. While cyclists have to remain aware of their surroundings, it is equally important for drivers to be aware that their safety within the car does not stop after the car is turned off. They need to be aware of the environment before opening their car door and potentially striking a cyclist.   

How to Prevent a Dooring Collision

Try to avoid pulling over in locations that have a bike line on the right to begin with. If you’re not properly paying attention between the time the car stops and you open the door, you could hit a cyclist. Look in the rearview and side mirrors before opening the car door with caution.

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