Table of Contents
The growing number of cyclists on the roads is a welcome development for many UK cities, providing a more environmentally friendly and healthy mode of transportation. However, a hazard that remains a threat to the safety of cyclists is car door accidents.
These cycling accidents, sometimes called doorings, occur when drivers open their doors without looking behind them or checking their blind spot first, resulting in unsuspecting cyclists being hit by the car door as they pass by.
Dooring has become especially prevalent in urban areas where the cycling infrastructure is inadequate, and cars are constantly parked at the sides of narrow streets – making it difficult for drivers and cyclists to be aware of each other’s presence.
As such, these incidents often go unreported due to a lack of visibility or even fear on the part of the victims, who do not want to report out of embarrassment or legal complications. If you’ve been hit by a car door while cycling, contact our friendly and experienced Cycle SOS team for support and legal advice on 0808 100 9995.
The Consequences of Car Door Accidents
The consequences of car door accidents are far-reaching, from physical injuries to psychological and financial burdens. If you’re a cyclist hit by a car door, you may have suffered a minor injury, lack the confidence to ride due to anxiety, or need to replace your bike due to damage.
In terms of physical injuries, cyclists can suffer from cuts, bruises, broken bones, and even paralysis in more severe cases. Psychological impacts can also be devastating for both the cyclists involved and those who witness this type of accident – often leading to fear and anxiety about cycling on roads with parked cars. Dooring incidents may cause a loss of earnings for cyclists if they cannot work while recovering. Additional medical costs can also place a burden on already strained finances.
Preventative Measures to reduce Dooring Incidents
One of the simplest ways to prevent car door accidents is to encourage drivers to check for cyclists before opening their doors and increase awareness amongst drivers and cyclists about the risks associated with this type of accident.
Cycling safety gear such as reflective jackets or lights can help improve visibility on roads – ensuring that those on two wheels are more easily spotted by motorists when travelling at night or in low-light conditions. These measures can prove effective in reducing the number of car door incidents and ultimately promoting safer streets for everyone who shares them.
The Dutch Reach
35% of drivers on the road admit to not looking for cyclists before opening their car door. Recently, a man opened a car door to ‘shake off sausage roll crumbs‘ and hit a cyclist, causing injuries including a fractured foot and torn ligaments in his shoulder.
The Dutch Reach is an excellent example of how effective policies can protect cyclists. Since 2022, the Dutch reach has been included in the Highway Code to protect cyclists by requiring drivers to check behind their vehicles and look for oncoming cyclists before opening their doors.
The Dutch Reach involves reaching across to open the door with the hand furthest from the door (your left hand if you’re the driver) instead of using the hand closest to the door. This conscious movement will turn your body towards the window, helping you spot approaching cyclists.
Cycling infrastructure development is another factor in preventing bike-car door collisions. Dedicated bike lanes can ensure cyclists are less exposed to dangers posed by nearby parked cars or other obstacles along shared pathways. By providing separate spaces for pedestrians and cyclists where possible – including through wider sidewalks or cycle tracks – cities can further reduce risk factors associated with travelling by two wheels while ensuring greater comfort levels for cyclists.
If you’ve experienced a bicycle injury due to a car door accident, you may be entitled to personal injury compensation. Our team of specialist cycling solicitors can offer a range of services, including expert legal consultation, support negotiating settlements, and recovery of medical expenses and loss of earnings.