When drivers park their car and quickly get out of their vehicle, they will often throw their car door open. If a passing cyclist or pedestrian collides with the door, this is known as “dooring.” Dooring is an injury that is more common than people expect; in fact, it accounts for nearly 20% of cyclist injury causes.
These accidents can result in broken bones, traumatic head injuries, and nerve damage. To help both drivers and cyclists avoid these dangerous events, here are a few tips everyone can follow to keep the roads safer for everyone:
Look before opening your door
Just because you are parked does not mean that you cannot hit someone with your car. Before opening your door, make sure to look around you to see if anyone is approaching you from behind, especially on busy roads.
Give a courtesy honk
Quickly honking your horn before opening your door can alert anyone nearby to your actions. This alert may be enough to get pedestrians to look up from their phones and avoid colliding with your door. Cyclists can also equip their bikes with a horn to alert exiting car passengers of their presence.
Avoid crowding cars
While not always possible in busy areas, cyclists should try to give parked vehicles any space they can afford, especially if the vehicle was recently parked. If you can give yourself more space away from cars, it gives you more opportunity to avoid an opening door.
Keep an eye on your surroundings
If a driver does open their door in front of you while you are on your bike, knowing what is around you can help you a lot. If you are already aware of what else is around you, it can grant you the opportunity to avoid the door and maneuver around them safely.
Be patient on the road
Rushing past cars on a bike can be just as dangerous as quickly throwing your car door open. Keep an eye on those around you to ensure you are not about to cause an accident with devastating consequences.