Bicycling-related injuries are a complex problem. Aside from poor biking mechanics, bicyclists can also get injured from road accidents. One of these is dooring, in which a car driver or passenger opens a car door into the path of a bicyclist, causing the bicyclist to hit the door or turn into the path of oncoming traffic – dangerous.
Door zone refers to the space in which an open car door extends beyond a car parked at the curb. Open car doors usually block most of bike lane areas, giving bicyclists no options to avoid crashes.
Bike-car collisions often result if someone from the car opens the door before watching out for cyclists that may come through. Bicyclists sometimes refer to it as “getting doored”.
In addition to the behavior of road users, other factors that contribute for the occurrence of dooring include infrastructure, traffic regulations, and policies.
Not Enough Protection for Bicyclists
Tracey Gaudry from the Amy Gillet Foundation is quoted in the ABC news story saying that the road toll is decreasing but not for the bicyclists. Whilst the work is being done to increase the safety of motor vehicle occupants, not enough is being done to protect the vulnerable road users, such as bicyclists.
What You Can Do to Avoid Dooring
Whether you’re a driver (or a passenger) or a cyclist, you can take measures to avoid such undesirable incidents.
If you’re a driver, try using your left hand when opening driver’s side door. This way, you’ll tend to reach across your own body, turning and looking out onto the road. Be vigilant and look out for cyclists that may come your way.
If you’re a cyclist, watch out for slowing-down vehicles. If a car is slowing down or parked, a door may about to pop open anytime. Also, look carefully at the cars ahead. See if there are brake lights showing, or if there is someone through the side view mirrors or windows. If there’s a person on board, they may be about to come out of the vehicle.
What to Do if You’ve Been Doored
No cyclist ever wants to be doored. Regardless of how cautious or skilled you are on the bike, there’s a chance of it happening at some point (if you haven’t yet).
If it’s possible to pick yourself up, do it. Get yourself and your bike off the road and deal with the situation from there. Staying out of the road after the incident reduces the chances of any other dangers that may happen. But if you think there are possibilities of spinal injury, don’t move. You’re at higher risk of getting more serious injuries.
Examine yourself for injuries. Your health is your first and foremost priority. Everything else can be fixed later. If you think you need medical attention, call an ambulance. If you’re not capable, ask someone nearby to call for you, if they still haven’t.
How Physiotherapy Helps
Seeking help from a physiotherapist, even if you suffer only minor grazes, can be very helpful in preventing injuries from getting worse. Many times during crashes, even if they are minor ones, can affect your spinal alignment. Tendency is you will sit crookedly on the bike, which eventually result in back pain. Even worse, some other parts of your body where the affected spinal nerve goes to can be affected. Through exercises, a physiotherapist can help you regain alignment as well as function so you can return to biking again.
It’s true that the issue regarding biking safety is not as simple as we may think. Complexity, by nature, increases the unpredictability of effects. Dooring problem is not an exemption.
If you’ve been involved in a bicycle crash, it helps to see a physiotherapist whether you have minor or major injuries. Call a Perth physiotherapist today at 9444 8729!