Dooring: how to avoid it

Every year, several cyclists collide with car doors opening suddenly in front of them. Since bicycles must travel as far to the right of the road as possible, it’s sometimes difficult for drivers to see them approaching. However, the Highway Safety Code stipulates that motorists must ensure the road is clear before opening their doors. How can you avoid dooring a cyclist? Here are a few tips:

  • Look in your mirrors. It may seem obvious, but this simple manoeuvre can prevent unfortunate incidents. Once you’ve parked your car and turned off the engine, take a few seconds to look in your mirrors and spot any potential hazards. Do you see a cyclist at the corner? Are they being followed by another car? Even if the cyclist doesn’t appear to be approaching quickly, wait until he’s passed before opening your door.

  • Use the Dutch reach technique. The “Dutch reach” involves opening your door with your right hand. This forces you to look over your shoulder and check your blind spot. This method is now taught in all driving schools in Quebec and is recommended by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ).

Although many municipalities are trying to improve the layout and safety of their cycling lanes, dooring remains one of the most common road accidents in large North American and European cities. While cyclists are also responsible for ensuring their safety, motorists can help prevent dooring accidents by adopting these two simple habits. Check out our blog regularly for more safety tips!

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