Waterfront riders face most risk of 'dooring'

MICHAEL FORBES
Last updated 05:00 08/02/2013

SlideshowCycle Vs Car Door Collisions 2007-2011


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The roads that wind around Wellington's inner-city bays are where the most serious cases occur of cyclists crashing into car doors.

University of Otago injury prevention researchers have developed an interactive map showing all such crashes across New Zealand between 2007 and 2011.

There were 36 incidents of cyclists crashing into car doors - sometimes referred to as "dooring" - in Wellington city during that time.

Of the seven crashes that saw cyclists taken to hospital with serious injuries, five were along waterfront routes. One crash was on Waterloo Quay, another on Oriental Parade, two along Evans Bay Parade and another on The Esplanade in Island Bay.

Cycling Advocates Network spokesman Patrick Morgan said he hoped city planners would take the data on board and rethink some of Wellington's cycle lanes.

"Frankly, I'm really surprised at some of the bike lanes we have in Wellington, particularly along Oriental Parade, where riders are right in the door zone," he said.

"What we find really unacceptable is when someone is riding in a designated bike lane and there's still a risk of being doored. That really shouldn't happen."

The key to eliminating the risk was rewriting national standards for cycle lanes, Mr Morgan said. He liked the idea of having lanes similar to those in Melbourne, where they are between the kerb and parked cars.

In the Hutt Valley, there were 11 incidents of dooring, two serious; one caused the death of cyclist Desmond Leonard Eyre, 61, who collided with an opening car door as he cycled along Fergusson Dr and was knocked into the path of a truck in June 2008.

The University of Otago map, which appears to be the first of its kind to cover the entire country, shows the approximate location of the 245 cycle dooring injuries during the five-year period it covers.

Injury Prevention Research Unit director Professor Hank Weiss said the tool would help city planners identify high-risk streets and build in solutions.

About 20 per cent of the 245 cyclists doored across the country were seriously injured, and two died.

Prof Weiss said the total number was very likely an under-count, as it would not necessarily include cyclists injured after swerving to avoid doors. Many such events went unreported to police, he said.

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- The Dominion Post

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