You look in the mirror and see a cyclist. What should you do when opening the car door? You look in the mirror and see a cyclist. What should you do when opening the car door?

  • A. Open it slowly - the cyclist will be able to see and adjust his or her path

  • B. Open it as per normal - cyclists always leave 1.5m gap between themselves and cars

  • C. Wait until the cyclist has passed

  • D. Warn the cyclist by sounding the horn before you open the door

  •  
    The correct answer is C
     
    Correct. Drivers opening car doors in front of cyclists is a leading cause of injury to cyclists and has, in some cases, caused death
     
 
 
 

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.