Bicycle “dooring” lacks a formal definition. However, “dooring” refers to when a driver or passenger opens a vehicle’s door directly into a bicyclist’s line of travel. As this action is unexpected by the bicyclist, the bicyclist does not have time to steer around the opened door. The result is a collision between the bicyclist and the open door. Often, this means that the bicyclist flips, or is thrown, off of the bicycle, with a resulting “hard landing.” Injuries stemming from “dooring” accidents can be severe and traumatic, and can involve several types of bodily injury. In some cases, the bicyclist has died from “dooring” accidents, either directly or indirectly.
While bicycle “dooring” can happen in any location in which vehicles are parked along a traffic lane, often “dooring” happens in urban, downtown areas where parallel parking is widespread, and other conditions exist, such as high levels of bicycling traffic and/or relatively narrow street lanes.
The DNAInfo.com article of November 22, 2013, titled “Protect Yourself From Dooring Epidemic With Common Sense, Rules of the Road,” provides safety tips on how bicyclists can prevent bicycle “dooring” accidents.
The article mentions a “Wicker Park dooring epidemic,” and quotes Kathleen Widmer, the Illinois Secretary of State’s foremost bicycle safety expert, on safety tips to avoid “dooring.”
Two of the safety suggestions from Widmer, as seen in the article:
Wear a helmet. Be aware of your surroundings. And use common sense.
“You have to be watching parked cars. If you see red lights, white lights or someone in the car, those are a giveaway that something is happening,” Widmer said. “You have to be aware that a door might open. The point is there are a lot of obstacles that bicyclists have to think about. You can’t just hop on a bike and ride.”
The article also has additional suggestions on measures to help prevent “dooring” accidents.
As well, bicyclists’ awareness of the “door zone” concept can help prevent “dooring” accidents.
Of course, motorists and passengers can help in preventing “dooring” accidents in a number of ways. Perhaps chief among the suggestions to motorists and passengers is to look for bicyclists traveling toward the vehicle before opening the door of the vehicle.