Growing up, you may remember being taught to look both ways before you walk across the street. Now drivers and passengers need this same advice before opening their car doors when parking on the street. Cyclists in Toronto have always had a tough time getting around the city and their rocky relationship with drivers is well documented, but things are actually getting more dangerous by the day. Since 2014, the number of dooring occurrences has risen by over 58%! Dooring is the act of a driver or passenger opening the door of their vehicle as a cyclist is approaching, resulting in serious injury and even death as the cyclist crashes into the open door.
Reported dooring incidents from 2014 to 2016 are 132 in 2014, 175 in 2015 and 209 in 2016. Cycle Toronto believes the number of collisions involving cyclists totalled 1,279 in 2016, including dooring incidents.
Cycle Toronto has a few thoughts and suggestions that could help stifle dooring incidents, which include recommending taxis avoid busy cycling routes and banning pick-up and drop-offs during peak traffic hours. Additionally, dooring counter measures should be included in road safety plans, such as drivers using the “Dutch Reach” technique, which prompts them to use their right hand to open their door. This technique ensures they glance behind them while opening their door.
Drivers are also now facing harsher penalties in an effort to curb dooring with a fine of $365 and the loss of 3 demerit points.
Thomson Rogers’ personal injury lawyer, and cycling advocate Adam Tanel is all too familiar with dooring incidents. As a daily cycling commuter, he has first-hand experience with the fear caused by dooring.
“It’s one of the scariest things as a cyclist. When it happens, it’s usually with absolutely no warning. A cyclist goes from biking along a clear bike lane one moment, and the next moment they are hurtling towards what is effectively a brick wall.”
Adam recalls helping one of his clients who was a victim of dooring. This particular client was cycling home in a bike lane. A driver parked to the right of the bike lane opened their door without looking. The collision with the door knocked the cyclist off his bike and into oncoming traffic. A car then ran over the cyclist’s legs, causing severe orthopaedic injuries. Thomson Rogers issued a lawsuit against the driver who doored our client. Fortunately, we were able to recover a significant amount of money for the cyclist.
Contact Thomson Rogers today for more information about vehicular, cyclist, or pedestrian accidents and traffic laws.