With more and more Sioux Falls residents choosing a bicycle as their preferred mode of transportation, both riders and drivers need to take extra precautions to ensure safety for all.
Knowing the rules of the road and sharing the road are the two biggest ways to be safe, but it’s the small details. Checking the road before opening your car door can make the biggest difference.
“Doorings”—hitting a cyclist on the road by opening a vehicle door—is a real thing. It’s become such a big concern that Uber recently wrote about it on its blog, and the company is launching a campaign to teach riders how to avoid doorings.
Bicycle collisions caused by car doors opening can happen unexpectedly and give bicyclists little time to react. What's worse, bicyclists are often unable to evade dooring crashes on narrow streets.
According to Venture Beat, Uber is also piloting an in-app safety feature called Bike Lane Alert that utilizes publicly available mapping to warn bicyclists about bike lanes and shared roads.
Dooring Incidents on the Rise for Sioux Falls Bicyclists
This type of alert is good news for the estimated two billion bicyclists worldwide. In 2011, the city of Chicago reported that 344 cycling injuries—a fifth of all cycling injuries reported that year—were caused by crashes involving obstacles created by the unexpected opening of a car door. In 2003, dooring was the cause of 11.9 percent of all cycling injuries registered in Toronto, and that same year, 8 percent of all serious injuries to London cyclists were the result of a collision with a car door.
There are some indications that the increase in bicyclist deaths correspond with an increase in the number of cyclists overall, but the data is limited.
The Dutch Reach: The Door Opening Technique that Could Save You from an Accident
So what is the solution? Traffic experts emphasize prevention and education. Every driving school graduate should get out of a car with the automatic routine of glancing in the rear-view mirror to look for cars, motorbikes, and cyclists coming from behind, making sure they over the shoulder before getting out of the car. This is part of what is call the "Dutch Reach," which advises both drivers and passengers to open the door with the far hand. This movement will inevitably make them turn their head and check the situation directly behind the car.