Car doors & bike riders
Find out about the risks and consequences associated with car doors and bike riders.
Car door statistics
One of the biggest risks to bike riders is car doors being opened into their path. The bike rider may swerve out further into the road or collide with the car door, often with serious consequences.
Between 2007 and 2011 there was an average of 38 serious injuries per year as a result of car door and bike rider collisions. There has been one fatality in the last five years. This is eight per cent of all bike rider serious injuries and fatalities. The proportion of serious injuries is much higher in the Melbourne CBD and surrounds, at approximately 20 per cent.
The regulation and fine
Rule 269(3) of the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2009 states it is an offence to cause a hazard to a person or a vehicle by opening a car door, leaving a door of a vehicle open, or getting off, or out of, a vehicle.
Please note that this offence covers a range of situations when people are getting in or out of vehicles - for example opening a car door into the path of a bike rider, dismounting a motorcycle, or stepping out of a bus.
In August 2012 the Victorian Government introduced tougher fines and penalties for this rule.
Advice for drivers
Bike riders are legitimate road users, and are therefore entitled to use the road just the same as any other road user. Car drivers and bike riders should share the road safely and look out for each other.
- Get into the habit of always using your mirrors and doing a head check before opening your car door (one way to do this is to open the car door with your left hand)
- Bike riders can travel quickly and may be much closer than you think
- When getting into your car, face the oncoming traffic so you can see bike riders (and other road users) travelling towards you. Do not open your car door until they have passed.
- Bike riders can ride between parked cars and the lane of traffic so, as a passenger, do not get out of a stationary car when in moving traffic.
- Check out the following animation Checking for cyclists and motorcyclists [Video] for further information about how to be more aware of cyclists when opening your car door.
- Share the road safely.
Advice for riders
- Look out for drivers and passengers getting in and out of parked cars.
- Be vigilant when riding alongside parked cars and ride out of the car door zone (if possible and safe to do so).
- If you are riding on a length of road with a marked bicycle lane, you must ride in the bicycle lane unless it is impracticable to do so.
- In places where there are a lot of parked cars, slow down.
- Wear bright coloured clothing and use lights at night or in conditions of low light.
- Share the road safely.