When must you NOT open the door of your motor vehicle? When must you NOT open the door of your motor vehicle?

  • A. If it's likely to hit someone or something, such as a cyclist

  • B. When the car is moving

  • C. When you are asked to get out of the car by a police officer

  • D. When stopped on the right on a one-way street

    The correct answer is A
    Drivers opening car doors in front of cyclists is a leading cause of injury to cyclists and has, in some cases, caused death. You are permitted to open your door while driving at low speed, e.g. in reverse, to help you with manoeuvring. This can help check your vehicle's position against the kerb

Avoiding 'car dooring' cyclists

You must not open the door of your vehicle if it's likely to hit another road user.

The three most common causes of accidents between a vehicle and a cyclist are:

Cyclists are less visible to drivers. In the Netherlands drivers are taught to open their car door with their opposite hand - in New Zealand this would be your left hand if you are the driver. This is because it forces you to turn your body and you get a better view of the road behind you.

'Dooring' or 'car dooring' is fairly common as you can see in this website which shows a map or reporting dooring incidents between 2007-11 in New Zealand. A total of 245 accidents were recorded in this period, which represents 6% of total injury accidents involving cyclists. It's possible it's under-reported. It caused 2 deaths and 20 serious injury crashes.

This video shows what happens when a cyclist hits a car door.

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