How Aussie drivers are opening the car door all wrong

As it turns out, there is a more efficient way to open your car door and it’s a lot safer for cyclists.

Often, the door of a car will open up into the bike lane, and if a cyclist is present on the road it makes car doors one of the biggest risks to their safety.

This could the lead to ‘dooring’ if driver and passengers aren’t careful.

According to Vic Roads, one of the biggest risks to bike riders is having a car door being opened into their path – if this does happen, the cyclist may have to swerve out further to avoid hitting the door.

Drivers and passengers are potentially putting cyclists at risk whenever they open their car door. Source: Getty Images
Drivers and passengers are potentially putting cyclists at risk whenever they open their car door. Source: Getty Images

“Between July 2011 and June 2016, there were 771 car doorings [in Victoria] involving bike riders. Of these, two were fatalities and 177 were serious injuries,” according to Vic Roads.

One of the recommendations suggested by the Victorian Government to prevent doorings is to open the car door with the hand furtherest away from the door – forcing you to turn your body and check for cyclists and other vehicles.

The manoeuvre is commonly known as the ‘Dutch Reach’.

According to the Dutch Reach Project, a site to promote the safer habit, the move is taught to children and people are tested on it during their driving tests.

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Bicycle Network, Australia’s biggest bike riding organisation with 50,000 members, is advocating for cyclists and calling for solutions to ensure safety.

It is also advocating for the Dutch Reach and hopes the method is adopted by most Australians.

The network states while it is never the cyclists fault if they are hit by an opening door, cyclists must be aware of the risk.

Bicycle Network is calling for roads to be developed with seperate bike lanes, which will prevent doorings and for police to consistently penalise infringements.

Drivers in NSW could be slapped with a $319 fine while drivers in Victoria could cop a $379 fine.

In the ACT, drivers will have to pay $159 while South Australians cough up $173.

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