Cycling Accident - What Should I Have Done?

So I am a cyclist who does this for a hobby and I tend to ride ~180km a week. Today on a normal morning ride, someone opened a car door facing the street right into my path and went for a little dive. Considering there weren't any noticeable damages to the bike or myself I just said to the guy I was ok and he walked along. Who was in the wrong for the situation from an unbiased point of view and should I have gotten his details? Thanks in advance.


  • +3 votes

    Were you going down pretty quick?

    As a general rule, it's the drivers fault. He should be doing a headcheck. But if you're in racing mode…

  • +20 votes

    Who just opens their car door without checking if something is coming? I would definitely say the driver of the car is at fault.

    • As long as there's doors, there's a danger of riding too close to an opening one. You can create rules and penalties, but there's no way to completely eliminate that danger. If it's not adults opening doors, then it could be kids.

      The only way to prevent these doorings is for the rider to leave a big enough gap.

      It was a stupid idea to mark bike lanes right next to parked cars. I don't know how these bureaucrats just ignored this obvious danger.

  • I would be an arse and take details and tell them I’d go to police for a report etc just to be an arse back and make sure that person remembers the moment where they could have seriously injured someone.

  • Definitely the car driver's fault - you could have been a car driving a little too close to the parked cars and he could have got his door and maybe his arm or leg wiped clean off. Even if you were in racing mode as long as you weren't going over the speed limit, still car driver.

    (Although to be honest for your own safety I think you were being a bit careless riding in door opening range)

    • It was a narrowish two was street and I try stick to the left as much as it is safe due to the traffic coming from the other direction.

      • Don’t do this anymore. You’re safety is important so please avoid riding in the footing zone in the future.

  • Glad that you're OK as I saw a cyclist get 'doored' by a Pajero recently and it was frightening to see.

    This article has a good summary.

    Unclear as to who was in the wrong here - were there any witnesses? - but I think you should have exchanged contact details.

    • Well it seems like the guy was frequenting his regular coffee shop so if I really want his details then I could wait outside the cafe around the same day.

  • In Victoria it's a serious fine for the driver ($400+)

    Rule 269(3) of the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2017 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 this situation the driver was totally at fault.

    However! You can as a cyclist get public liability insurance so if you ever did have an accident that was your fault, you wouldn’t be out of pocket.

  • As a car driver and a motorcyclist, we are taught to leave enough space between ourselves and the parked cars to avoid hitting opening car doors.

    Why aren't cyclists taught the same thing?

    If a moving car hits an opening parked car door, it's the driver of the moving car who is deemed to be at fault for not leaving enough space.

    If cyclist hits an opening parked car door, the person opening the car door is deemed to be at fault. I think cyclists should always try to leave a big enough gap to be able to avoid opening doors. It's called "self-preservation" because in a door-vs-cyclist situation, cyclists will always come off second best.

    …and should I have gotten his details?

    Regardless of damage/injury, you should always get the other person's details. Injuries are not always immediately apparent when your body is pumping with adrenaline. Sometimes the pain sets in much later or the next morning.

    • Cyclists are ‘taught’ they have to stay left and give cars right of way because they are slow. This is not the correct way to do things. Do not ride in the door zone, especially for other people’s convenience.

      OP is lucky they were not injured more seriously. Could have been thrown into other traffic, broken a collar bone on landing etc. .

  • Driver is at fault. People should always check for bike before opening doors but, sometimes, when bikes are running much faster than surrounding traffic people forget. Was on a tram in Chapel St the other day and the cyclists were just nuts. Not stopping when the tram door was open, weaving between the tram and the cars, going quite fast given the amount of traffic. It is a two way street and bike riders need to ride defensively.

    • I agree. On the other hand when cyclists ride slower and further away from obstacles like parked cars to avoid collisions with opening doors they also cop abuse for holding up the traffic behind them.

      Hard to win if you're a cyclist.

    • I am a Chapel Street cyclist and yes unfortunately there are plenty of idiots who ride through red lights / past trams when doors are open, they give us sensible cyclists a bad name.

      Personally I never ride in the door zone, it's suicidal to do so, I ride pretty much in the car lane which doesn't slow cars down as Chapel Street is always a crawl. Still doesn't stop the odd idiot beeping their horn and screaming "get in the bike lane!" - when they do this I slow down right in front of them, then when they go into a rage I calmly approach their driver's window and explain that:

      • I don't like riding too close to car doors as it's dangerous
      • I don't legally have to ride in the bike lane
      • If I wasn't here, you would not be any further along the road as it is crawling traffic with red lights every 50 metres

      They then realise they have nothing to argue against and calm down.

      • I agree with you. I have no issue with bikes riding defensively. Bikes are actually more of a problem when they are going much faster than traffic as they are hard to anticipate. I saw one lady on a bike almost hit someone getting on the tram. The HHGTTG response of “none at all” would apply if the cyclist slipped trying to overtake the tram and ended up under the wheels.

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