Opening a door is something that people who travel in four-wheeled vehicles probably do not give much thought to. Pull the handle, swing it open and step out.
Yet, for cyclists’ and motorcyclists’ sake, they should.
When you travel on two wheels, a car door suddenly opening in front of you can be lethal. Your chance of staying on your bike if you hit it is minimal, and depending on the speed you are going, you could be knocked to the ground or flung over the top of the door. If you land in front of another vehicle, it could crush you.
It is easy to open car doors more safely
All it requires on the part of the drivers is a change of habit. Most people grew up opening the car door with the hand nearest the door. To do it more safely, they should use the opposite hand. This is often called “the Dutch Reach.”
Using the opposite hand requires a person to reach across their body. As they do so, their body turns backward, making it easier for them to see anything approaching from behind, such as a cyclist or motorcyclist.
While many feel that making roads safer for cyclists requires major infrastructure changes, small changes like these come at no cost and with little effort. Car users willing to commit to opening their doors with the inside hand are making the roads safer for others and also reducing the risk they end up traumatized after injuring a cyclist or motorcyclist.
If a car user knocks you off your bike because they opened a door directly in your path, you can get legal help to claim compensation.