Johnson, Newstead, Oxley and Charlton (2013) contribute to our understanding of cyclists, dooring-zones (also known as killing-zones), cycling infrastructure and driver behaviour through an investigation into cyclist crashes with open vehicle doors.
The authors analyse Victorian police reported crashes, hospital data and naturalistic cycling video footage and found that the number of cyclist-open vehicle door crashes is increasing and that crash type may be reduced by improvements in driver behaviour and reconfiguration of road design.
In all honesty most if not all, reasonably experienced cyclists could have told authors that (a) drivers need to look for cyclists before opening doors and that designing “bicycle lanes” to run right along park cars is well stupid and dangerous road design: yes City of Fremantle I am referring to you! Please don’t call yourself a cycling city when you implement road infrastructure designed to increase the risk of killing mums and dads, brothers and sisters.
The paper looks at Victorian police reported crashes in the period 2000 – 2011, hospital presentations (2000-2010) and a sample of video footage from a naturalistic study of commuter cyclists in Melbourne (2009–2010).
The authors concluded that
A total of 1247 police reported cyclist crashes and 401 hospital emergency department presentations were analysed. As a proportion of all cyclist crashes, cyclist-open vehicle door crashes accounted for 3.1% (hospital) and 8.4% (police). The majority of cyclists injured were: male (police: 67.1%; hospital: 65.8%); adults aged 18 years or older (police: 97.5%; hospital: 96.3%), and crashes occurred in speed zones up to 60 kph (police: 93.1%). From the naturalistic cycling study, there were 13 door-related events with a rate of 0.59 events per trip. No collisions occurred and in all cases, a potential collision was avoided by the cyclists’ evasive action. Most drivers did not look in the direction of the cyclist before opening the door. While the number of reported crashes is relatively low, cyclists’ exposure to events with potential for this crash type is high. Potential countermeasures to reduce the risk of this interaction/crash type are discussed and include road environment design improvements and road user behaviour programs.
The full reference for the paper is:
Johnson, M., Newstead, S., Oxley, J. & Charlton, J. (2013). Cyclists and open vehicle doors: Crash characteristics and risk factors. Safety Science, 59, 135-140.