Most cyclists share the road with motorists. However, some motorists don’t look for cyclists, which can lead to accidents. This means cyclists have to be extra cautious when riding around cars.
One of the more common accidents cyclists suffer from motor vehicles is dooring. A dooring accident happens when a driver or passenger opens their door in the path of a cyclist. As a result, the cyclist may be thrown off their bike and experience traumatic head and spine injuries, such as whiplash, concussions, lacerations, spinal hernias and internal bleeding.
Motorists who live in areas with a high number of cyclists can help reduce dooring accidents by learning more about their causes and consequences.
Why does dooring happen?
Dooring accidents typically happen because motorists don’t observe their surroundings before leaving their vehicles. Most motorists are cautious when opening their doors to avoid accidents with other vehicles. But, their attention may be short-sighted and they may not notice when there are oncoming cyclists.
Some dooring accidents occur because motorists misjudge a cyclist’s ability to stop their bike. It can take several seconds for a cyclist to slow down and stop their bike. There may not be enough distance for a cyclist to stop their bike when a sudden obstacle such as a car door appears in their path.
How can drivers reduce dooring accidents?
There’s a simple solution to reducing dooring accidents – it’s called the Dutch Reach. The Dutch Reach is a technique many drivers already do without realizing that they are preventing dooring accidents. This technique requires motorists to open their doors with the hand farthest from the door. As motorists open their doors with their farthest hand, their heads will turn, allowing them to spot oncoming cyclists.
What to do when involved in a dooring accident?
Unfortunately, many cyclists are involved in dooring accidents every year. Cyclists suffering from injuries and losses should understand what they need to do to receive the compensation they deserve.