There aren’t a lot of updated statistics on the subject, but “dooring” is a major problem for bicyclists everywhere. That’s when a motor vehicle owner opens their car door directly into the path of an oncoming cyclist, causing the cyclist to crash.
A California study that looked at the issue between 2012-2015 indicates that dooring is one of the top three causes of injuries to bicyclists. A 2011 Chicago study indicated that dooring accounts for about a fifth of cyclists’ injuries.
Dooring is easy to prevent with the Dutch Reach
Everyone can do a very simple thing to eliminate dooring incidents and protect their fellow travelers out there on the road: Use the Dutch Reach.
The maneuver is easy: Whether you’re exiting a vehicle on the driver’s side or passenger’s side, stop reaching for the door handle with the hand that’s closest to the door. Instead, use the opposite hand. This automatically forces you to pivot your body and turn your head — which means you can see if there’s a bicyclist coming your way.
It’s smart, simple and safer for everyone involved. While cyclists usually do their best to watch for people who are about to exit parked vehicles, it can be difficult to spot everyone in a long row of cars. Plus, it’s hard to tell if someone is just waiting in their car for someone to return or actually planning on exiting.
When a dooring incident leaves you injured, seek help
Dooring can cause devastating injuries to cyclists. The abrupt nature of the event often propels a rider over their handlebars and over the door of the car into which they collided and onto the pavement. Head injuries and spinal cord trauma are common.
If you’ve been injured in a dooring incident with a negligent driver, talk to an attorney about your options for seeking financial recovery.