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With the growing popularity of cycling in cities, increasing public safety for cyclists has become an important area of focus. One key aspect that is being addressed when considering bicycle safety is efforts to reduce car dooring – a type of crash caused by drivers or passengers opening car doors without looking for nearby cyclists.
Improving cycling infrastructure can be an effective solution to reducing this dangerous practice. In this blog post, we will explore how improving cycling infrastructure can help reduce dooring and make roads more accessible and safe for people who ride bikes.
What is “dooring”?
Dooring is a term used to describe a type of collision that occurs between a cyclist and a car door that has been opened without checking for oncoming traffic. A car hitting a cyclist is a common cause of accidents in urban areas, where traffic is heavy and cyclists often ride in bike lanes next to parked cars. The consequences of car dooring can be severe, resulting in serious injuries or even fatalities.
To prevent dooring, drivers are advised to always check their mirrors and look for cyclists before opening their car doors, while cyclists are urged to ride a safe distance away from parked vehicles.
Examples of cycling infrastructure improvements that can reduce dooring
There are several infrastructure improvements that cities can make to reduce car dooring incidents, such as:
- Widening bike lanes: By increasing the width of existing bike lanes, cyclists can be given more room to move away from parked cars and reduce their chances of experiencing dooring.
- Installing buffer zones: A buffer zone between the bike lane and parked cars can provide cyclists with additional protection against a car door hitting a cyclist. It can also help to reduce on-road collisions between cyclists and cars.
- Improve access to bike lanes: Poorly maintained or blocked bike lanes can make it more difficult for cyclists to use them safely. Improving access to these important cycling routes will ensure that cyclists are able to ride with greater confidence and security.
- Designated no-parking zones: By creating no-parking zones near bike lanes, drivers can be discouraged from parking in close proximity to cyclists, thus reducing the risk of dooring incidents.
- Cycle lane barriers: These barriers can be installed alongside bike lanes to physically protect cyclists from the possibility of a car hitting a cyclist.
Benefits of improved cycle infrastructure
Overall, improved cycling infrastructure can help reduce the risk of car dooring and improve safety for cyclists. Additionally, it can provide many other benefits, such as:
- Increased mobility for all road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
- Improved air quality due to less traffic congestion on roads.
- Greater accessibility to bike lanes for people of all ages and abilities.
- Enhanced public health due to increased physical activity from cycling.
- Reduced noise pollution in cities due to fewer cars on the road.
Other ways to reduce dooring accidents
While improved cycling infrastructure can play an important role in reducing dooring, other measures can be taken to help reduce the risk of this type of crash, such as the Dutch Reach and public education campaigns.
What is the Dutch Reach?
The Dutch Reach is a method of exiting vehicles that involves using the hand furthest away from the door to open it. This simple technique encourages drivers and passengers to turn their heads and bodies and look for cyclists before opening their car doors.
As a result, the Dutch Reach method can help reduce dooring incidents significantly, making roads safer for cyclists.
How the public can get involved in advocating for bicycle infrastructure improvements in their community
The public can get involved in advocating for improved cycling infrastructure in their city or town by contacting local government representatives to encourage them to prioritise cycling infrastructure improvements.
Additionally, they can join local cycling advocacy groups like Cycling UK and participate in their campaigns to bring attention to the issue. People can also use social media to raise awareness of the benefits of improved bicycle infrastructure and rally support for these initiatives.
In conclusion, improved cycling infrastructure can help reduce dooring incidents and make roads safer for cyclists. By widening bike lanes, installing buffer zones, improving access to bike lanes, and introducing designated no-parking zones, cities can create a more accessible and secure environment for people who ride bikes. Other measures, such as the Dutch Reach and public education, can also help reduce the risk of car dooring.
What to do if you are hit by a car on a bike
If you are hit by a car on a bike, you could be entitled to personal injury compensation. At Cycle SOS, our team of solicitors can offer a range of services, such as expert legal consultation, support in negotiating settlements, and recovery of medical expenses and loss of earnings.