Car doors and city streets a dangerous mix for cyclists
MORE than 100 cyclists a year on average are being injured in crashes involving car doors in the inner city, research has found.
And almost one in three of all ''dooring'' related crashes occurred on St Kilda Road, Collins Street, Chapel Street and Elizabeth Street, the analysis of police-reported crash data in the inner city between 2006 and 2010 showed.
Dooring represented one in five of all crashes involving cyclists reported to police and was the most common cause of a crash.
A cyclist navigates her way through traffic on St Kilda Road. Photo: Pat Scala
Janet Bolitho, from the Road Safety Action Group Inner Melbourne, said the report provided clear evidence of why urgent action was needed to reduce the threat of car doors to cyclists.
On average eight cyclists are killed on Victoria's roads each year. ''It is not just the door in itself, it is being thrown into the path of oncoming traffic,'' Cr Bolitho said.
She said dooring had to be dealt with through improved education, enforcement and infrastructure.
The new research is part of a submission by the group - which includes Yarra, Melbourne, Port Phillip and Stonnington councils, to a parliamentary committee considering a legal change by Greens MP Greg Barber that would raise the maximum penalty imposed on drivers who endanger cyclists from $366 to $1220 and the loss of three demerit points.
Cr Bolitho said the offence for dooring should be similar to the punishment for running a red light and education about the risk of dooring should be included in drivers' licence tests.
Garry Brennan from Bicycle Network Victoria said the research showed action could be taken to help prevent dooring.
''It's geographically confined so if we take those 10 streets [where most dooring incidents have occurred] and address the problem on those 10 streets we can make a significant impact on half of the total problem,'' he said.
Cycling safety expert Marilyn Johnson, from the Monash University Accident Research Centre, said police and hospital data showed incidents involving car doors and cyclists were increasing across Victoria.
The Amy Gillett Foundation's Tracey Gaudry said the foundation supported tougher penalties for motorists opening car doors in the path of cyclists and was also concerned about the increase in tinted windows, which made it harder to predict what a driver might do.