If you were to ask an urban cyclist or a bicycle accident lawyer about the biggest risks facing riders in large cities, “dooring” – when a driver opens their car door and strikes a cyclist – would likely top the list. In Toronto, where population growth and traffic issues have led to an influx of cyclists on the roads, dooring accidents increased each year from 2014 to 2016, when they peaked at 209.
Personal injury lawyers working in Canada’s large cities have become familiar with the dooring phenomenon in recent years. Collisions between vulnerable road users – cyclists and pedestrians – and motorized vehicles can cause some of the most serious injuries that occur on Canadian roads. While dooring incidents rarely result in long-term disabilities or death, any bicycle accident lawyer can tell you that they present significant risks.
Last November, a motion spearheaded by Toronto District School Board trustee for Etobicoke Centre Chris Glover was heard by the city’s Public Works committee. The motion recommended asking the province to update the Highway Traffic Act to address concerns around dooring, according to the CBC.
Today, drivers who door cyclists face a fine of up to $1,000 and three demerit points. However, they are not considered liable when a passenger in the car commits the same act. Glover’s motion aims to change that; he himself was doored by an Uber passenger in 2016.
“He opened the back door on me,” Glover said. “I hit the back door. I got bruises all down my left arm and left leg. My bike wheel was twisted.”
Glover needed several months to recover from his injuries.
“We need drivers to be partly responsible,” he added.
Besides holding drivers accountable for the actions of their passengers, Glover’s motion recommends teaching the “Dutch Reach” in driver education courses, and including the technique on the provincial G1 driving exam.
Per the CBC, the Dutch Reach maneuver occurs when a driver or passenger uses the arm opposite their door to open it, forcing the person to rotate their head and shoulders in the direction of approaching cyclists.
The motion also suggests that ride share companies like Uber mandate cyclist safety training for their drivers, and that rear view mirrors be installed on the passenger doors of vehicles for hire.
If you or someone you know has been injured while riding their bike, contact a bicycle accident lawyer at Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to find out how our experienced team can help you access compensation.