How can bicyclists avoid dooring accidents?

The Arizona Department of Transportation reported 830 accidents that occurred between motorists and bicycles in 2020.

A common cause of bicycle accidents is dooring: when drivers open their car door into the path of a bicyclist. The risk for injury is high in this type of collision. While the driver is responsible for looking before opening their doors into traffic, bicyclists can be proactive by following these suggestions.

Ride in the street lane

On busy city streets that do not have a bike lane, or the bike lane is within three feet of parked cars, bike in the road instead. Arizona transportation laws allow bicyclists to ride in the center of a traffic lane as long as they follow the laws.

Practice safe cycling

Riding through urban areas also requires smart cycling habits. Some things bicyclists can do to avoid collisions are:

  • Ride in a steady pattern, staying out from between parked cars
  • Wear brightly colored clothing
  • Watch drivers that have recently parked their cars, as well as idling vehicles

Consider alternate routes

The most direct route to a destination might not provide adequate room for a cyclist. Look for alternative streets with wide bike lanes that keep riders out of the street and away from parked cars. Other options to consider are riding on designated bike paths, traveling at a time with fewer vehicles, and riding on less-traveled roads.

Install safety equipment on the bicycle

Making a bicycle more visible is another technique to prevent dooring. Flashing front headlights shine into a driver’s side mirror, notifying them of a bicyclist’s presence.  This light may remind the driver to look before opening their door.

Following these recommendations can help prevent bicyclists from sustaining injuries in a dooring accident.

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