By Joel Zanatta
The Cycling Lawyer
You are riding down the road on a bright sunny day. Even though traffic is relatively light, you are vigilant – staying to the right side of the road, listening for the sound of vehicles coming from the rear, keeping your head up. Then suddenly, without warning a car door swings open and you are lying on the pavement. You have been the victim of the most callous form of negligence – dooring.
Dooring incidents have gone hand in hand with the explosion of cycling in Canada. As more cyclists hit the roads, accidents involving car doors have increased.
While we laude the government’s decision in this regard, the change in law went hand in hand with the government’s decision to vastly strip away cyclist’s rights to compensation for injuries caused by dooring. Simply put, now the government gets to collect revenue from the motorist who doors a cyclist, but the cyclist is unable to pursue the motorist for fair compensation.
Nonetheless, the decision to increase dooring fines in BC is a good thing. The new fine, along with increased expenditures for driver education, may remind motorists of the presence of other more vulnerable road users. By educating motorists young and old to take a moment to check their mirror before swinging a door wide open into the travelled portion of the roadway, cyclists’ lives may be spared.
As cyclists, we cannot count on drivers remembering to check their blind spot before opening their door.
BC Cycling Coalition’s guide Bike Sense, makes the following recommendations:
We have the following additional tips to avoid being the victim of dooring:
Although riding defensively will not eliminate the risk of dooring, it will help reduce the probability of it occurring to you. And we all want to be as safe as possible when riding on the road.
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