Any rider who has ridden on the road knows the danger posed by the opening of a car door.
Bicycle Lanes are dictated by a sign with a bike and LANE underneath. If a road shoulder has a painted bike but no Bike Lane sign then bike riders are not compelled to use it. You can keep reading here.
The Door Zone
When marked bike lanes are provided, they are to the left of the road. Too often cars are allowed to park closest to the gutter, and the bike lane is sandwiched between them and the traffic lane.
Riders staying within this lane, or over to the left of the traffic lane, are then endangered if the driver opens their car door without checking first. The rider can be hit, can hit the door, or can be pushed into the path of the car behind them.
The Dutch Reach
The Netherlands pioneered the ‘Dutch Reach’, a technique of opening the car door with the hand furthest away, requiring people to turn their bodies so they are better able to see a bike rider coming. This has been adopted in other countries, and remains essential to passing your driving test in the Netherlands.
Bicycle NSW has advocated driver education and adoption of this technique in NSW. Part of our safety campaign supported by Suez includes the ‘Look back for bikes’ message to remind everyone to open vehicle doors safely.
“This is a simple, free technique that drivers and passengers can adopt now to prevent serious injuries,” said Bicycle NSW General Manager of Public Affairs, Bastien Wallace.
“Reminding people you travel with or workmates to look back for bikes could make NSW roads safer for everyone,” said Bastien.
We’re asking members to share this article with friends, remind anyone you know who is studying for their license, or who drives for a living. A small change in behaviour could do a lot to help riders.
Safety On Spokes
This article is a part of our 2 month Safety on Spokes Campaign where we cover a range of topics to make a better environment for bike riders in NSW.