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Preventing Car Door Accidents: Tips for Cyclists

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When you’re cycling, it’s important to be aware of the risks that come with sharing the road. Car doors are one of these risks; a driver may not see a cyclist coming and open their door directly into their path. A dooring accident can be dangerous for cyclists and cause serious injury or even death, but there are steps that cyclists can take to mitigate this risk.

In this blog post, we’ll provide useful tips for avoiding a collision with an open car door when cycling, so you can stay as safe as possible on your ride!

What is car-dooring?

In the UK, ‘dooring’ is when a cyclist collides with an opening car door. It’s often caused by drivers not checking their mirrors properly before opening the door and failing to see cyclists coming up behind them.

This type of collision can be incredibly dangerous for cyclists, as they have no way of avoiding it at high speed; they can be thrown off their bikes and onto the road.

The Dutch Reach

The Dutch Reach is a technique to help drivers and passengers avoid dooring cyclists. It involves opening the car door with your far hand instead of your near hand. This forces the driver or passenger to turn their body and look behind them, which increases the likelihood that they will see any approaching cyclists before opening the door.

However, it’s important to note that this technique is not foolproof, and cyclists should still take extra precautions when passing parked cars.

How can I avoid car door accidents?

The dangers of a car door opening into the path of a cyclist can be serious; broken bones, head injuries, and even death. Therefore, it’s essential to take steps to avoid this kind of accident.

Fortunately, there are some steps that cyclists can take to reduce the chances of being doored when out on a ride:

1 – Assume the Door Zone

When cycling, it’s crucial to avoid the “door zone” which is the area between cars and a curb where an unaware driver might open it into your path. Try to ride at least 1 metre away from parked cars, so you have more time to react if a door opens.

2 – Be aware of your surroundings

When cycling alongside parked cars, keep an eye out for signs that someone might be about to open their door – like movement in the car or occupants getting ready to leave. If you’re unsure or have any doubts, slow down and move away from the vehicle.

3 – Use bike lanes wherever possible

Where available, use designated bike lanes, as it’s much easier to stay out of the door zone and away from parked cars. Make sure you check for any vehicles pulling in or out of parking spaces along the route.

4 – Always wear a helmet

Even if you’re taking all the necessary precautions to avoid accidents from an open car door, it’s important to wear a helmet in case of any unexpected collisions. A quality helmet can help you stay safe and protect your head in the event of an accident – so make sure you always have one on when cycling.

5 – Use lights and high-visibility clothing

At night or in the early morning, it can be difficult for drivers to spot cyclists, so make sure you’re visible. Wear bright and reflective clothing and use front and rear bike lights so you can be seen from all angles.

6 – Stay alert

It’s important to stay focused and alert when cycling, particularly when travelling near parked cars. Use caution when approaching any parked vehicle, and be prepared to take evasive action if a door opens in your path.

7 – Report dangerous behaviour

If you see any drivers behaving recklessly or opening their car doors without looking, report it to the police. This could help prevent an accident and keep other cyclists safe.

Conclusion

By following the steps outlined above, cyclists can help minimise their chances of being doored in a collision. Remember, safety should always be your priority when riding – so make sure you’re aware of your surroundings and take the necessary steps to protect yourself from an open car door.

If you were injured while cycling because someone opened a door, you may qualify for personal injury compensation. Cycle SOS has a team of experienced solicitors who can provide legal advice, help negotiate settlements, and recover medical expenses and lost earnings on your behalf.

To find out more about our services or how to start your claim, call 0808 100 9995 and speak to one of our specialist solicitors. We’re here to help. You can email us or schedule a callback.

Written By:

Cycle SOS
Cycle SOS only deal with cycle accident claims. We understand cyclists, and believe that cyclists have the right to be safe on the roads. Cycle SOS The Cyclists National Helpline is made up of a highly trained team of specialist personal injury cycling lawyers that have recovered millions of pounds for people making bicycle accident claims.