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What can drivers do to stay safe and avoid ‘dooring’ accidents?
Parked cars can pose a significant danger to cyclists if the driver is unaware of their surroundings. One type of accident that can result from this is called “dooring,” which occurs when a car door is opened into the path of a cyclist, potentially causing them to lose balance or even flip over at high speeds.
To prevent accidents like “dooring,” drivers must stay attentive and take steps to protect riders.
Check both sides of the car
Drivers should check their side mirrors and blind spots before opening their doors to ensure no cyclists or other vehicles are approaching from behind.
Learn the “Dutch Reach”
Drivers must use the hand farthest from the door to open a car door. This method is called the “Dutch Reach.” It encourages drivers to turn their bodies and look behind them, reducing the risk of hitting a cyclist.
Use designated parking areas
Drivers should park in designated areas instead of by the road, making them less likely to cause dooring accidents with cyclists. Parking in designated areas can also help reduce congestion on the road and improve overall safety for all drivers.
Stay aware of cyclists
All drivers should increase their awareness of cyclists on the road and remember they have the right to use it. It is also important to remember that cyclists may travel faster than expected, especially on electric bicycles.
Patience is key
Drivers must wait for an opportunity to safely open their car door, even if it takes a few extra seconds. Safety should always be a top priority. And a safe moment to open the door will eventually present itself if the driver waits patiently.
According to Section 56-5-3822 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, it is illegal to open a car door unless it is safe to do so. To prevent accidents, drivers must be mindful of cyclists and pedestrians before opening their doors. Not being cautious of cyclists and pedestrians on the road can have serious consequences, including injuries or fatalities.