Opening your car doors in the street could lead to accidents and land you a hefty repair bill ─ but the financial repercussion should be the least of your worries. Figures from the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Transport Safety (PACTS), as revealed by Labour MP Barry Sheerman, show 595 cyclists were injured by hitting or trying to avoid open car doors.
Of the 595 victims, 92 suffered serious injuries, which are described as injuries where the victim never walks without pain again. One cyclist who hit or swerved to avoid a car door sadly didn’t live to tell the tale. The figures reveal a definite increase on 2009’s total of 460-odd, of which 55 suffered serious injuries and 413 suffered light injuries.
Figures from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) found a total of 19,215 casualties were reported in 2011 ─ 3,085 of which were serious injuries and 107 were deaths. In 2012, the death toll rose to 122.
The rise in the number of accidents is attributed to a 17 per cent increase in commuters cycling to work, according to the Daily Mail, likely inspired by British athletes’ performances in the 2012 Olympics and Tour de France.
“Cycling is very popular,” Sheerman explained. “It has come back again. All over the world, and certainly western Europe, it is fashionable again to cycle. It is true there are more cyclists but there are people who are not trained enough to look in their mirrors.
“It is an education challenge, we have got to raise awareness. It is much more likely that there is a quiet cyclist coming past you,” he added.
To try and make life easier for cyclists and further encourage cycling as an eco-friendly and healthy way to get around, London Mayor Boris Johnson announced plans to build a £1billion, 15 mile cycle path that runs through the heart of the capital.
PACTS will be launching an initiative to help reduce the number of cyclists injured or killed by other road users, but there are a number of things you can do before then to help lower those troubling statistics:
When on a bike, maintain about a door’s width between yourself and parked cars where possible to keep you at a safe distance and don’t run red lights as drivers expect complete right of way. As a driver, double check your mirrors and try to leave enough of a gap for cyclists to come up the inside and remember to indicate when changing lanes.
Also, ensure you look before you open your car doors and ensure you remain vigilant when driving in case your two-wheeled brethren are nearby.
Source: Daily Mail