In the last two years, at least three cyclists in London died after they were knocked off their bike by a car door being opened: Patrick Gorma in January 2010 at Chalk Farm in Camden, Sam Harding in August 2011 on Holloway Road in Islington and James Darby in January 2012 on Upper Elmers End Road, Beckenham. (Details about all cycling fatalities in London since 2006 are available here.)
The Highway Code does not leave any doubt on who is to blame in such occasions. Paragraph 239 says:
“If you have to stop on the roadside: you MUST ensure you do not hit anyone when you open your door – check for cyclists or other traffic.”
The driver of the car who killed Sam Harding currently is charged with manslaughter.
However, being on the right side of the law gives small consolation if you’re “doored”. Additionally, even if you’re not severely injured, running into a car door is really painful, as I can report from first hand experience.
Unfortunately, a lot of cyclists, however, are not aware of the danger parked cars pose to them and do not leave enough room when they cycle alongside parked cars. (more…)