You love riding your bike, but you know there are hazards each time you hit the road. One such hazard is dooring. If a driver doesn't see you, he or she could open a door into your lane and cause a head-on collision. Many cyclists are badly hurt in these crashes, while others are killed.
As someone who also drives a car, there are things you can do to prevent these types of crashes. Use these tips to keep others safe and to educate those around you on safer ways to drive, park and get out of a vehicle.
1. Use the Dutch Reach
The Dutch Reach is a special reach in which you use your right hand to open your left-side door and vice-versa. By doing this, your body is forced to turn toward the window, which makes you look out and into traffic. This simple change in your routine means you'll look down the road more often and be more likely to see a cyclist.
If you don't use this technique, you could use your left arm to throw open your door, never thinking about what might be in the roadway. This could lead to a dooring crash.
2. Pull close enough to the curb and slowly open your door
Just showing that you have the intention of opening your door is a good warning to cyclists. For example, if you parallel park, you need to be within 12 inches of the curb. Realistically, the closer you get, the better. When you go to open your door, open it just a crack to begin with. The movement will signal to an oncoming bicyclist that you plan to open your door. Look out the window or in your mirror to double-check that the area is clear before opening your door fully.
3. Use parking lots
Probably the best piece of advice is not to get out or open a door in a roadway at all. If you are coming to a location to eat or meet with coworkers, use a parking lot or choose a parking space that has no bike lane. When you have to open your door into a busy lane, there's always a risk of a crash. However, if you choose to park where no cyclists would likely be, then you're saving yourself and cyclists trouble and avoiding any risk at all.
These are a few tips to help prevent dooring accidents. Stay safe this summer, and remember to share the road.