Changes to car dooring penaties discussed on Radio National this morning

There was a discussion this morning on Radio National about changes to car dooring penalties including an interview with the mother who's son was killed as a result of a car dooring incident.

If you are interested you can listen to it at

Personally while penalties are important, most of the time the problem is that drivers just do not think before opening car doors.  The focus needs to be on education which is regularly reinforced, backed up by penalties that are actually enforced.  I would also like to see more publicity telling cyclists how to minimize car dooring including ensuring that they try to ride outside the car door zone.  The later would also educate drivers as to why cyclists are riding so far out from the kerb and parked cars  

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David, I support penalties. I was disgusted when in Australia a driver who opened a door on a cyclist, leading to his death, was not even fined for the door opening which breaches ARR. Compare with nearby NZ where recently a driver was charged after a dooring led to a cyclist's death.

I am aware that 'hip pocket education' has decreased parking in Prospect Road bicycle lanes. Drivers are more interested in moving when I warn them of the potential fine, than if I mention cyclist safety. Educating cyclists has merit but is flawed for slow cyclists like me who are forced by impatient drivers to cycle (even more slowly) in the dooring zone. I would appreciate if Australian bicycle lanes and cycling areas were not installed within the dooring range. However, realise I cannot persuade planners otherwise when safer designs for cyclists would require removal of car parking.

Don't get me wrong.  Penalties are definitely important - although they need to be enforced.  The issue with car dooring is that people fling car doors open in an instance without even thinking, let alone considering the possibility that a cyclist could be passing and the consequences that may have.   Unless penalties are tied in with education, the majority of drivers will not even be aware of the issue to change their behavior.  In addition to education, it could be part of training new drivers.  As part of their driving testing, they should be made to exit a parallel parked car ensuring they check for cyclists or any other passing vehicles before opening the door.

David, +1.

Bike Lanes- aren't they the extra space given to motorists to fling their doors open without danger of being damaged by other cars? (tongue in cheek)

Yup. 'Dead' right.

Penalty + education.

Thing is, human nature is hard to legislate for. 

When someone opens their door they glance (when they do) using almost their peripheral vision, and only quite obvious objects register. Like another car. Plus they are usually thinking ahead to what they need to do now that they have arrived at their destination. So they really aren't concentrating. IMO.

So I think education is probably the most important - as you said David, it also lets people know why cyclists aren't hugging the gutter.

Penalties are easy. Education costs money, and requires thought, so everyone expects just making a bigger penalty will fix the problem. It won't. All it does is give the Govt. more $. IMO.

I followed someone last week who was riding in the gutter, weaving around parked cars with inches to spare. Legally he was riding correctly. From traffics' point of view he kept disappearing and then reappearing. It looked just plain dangerous. It's about time the road rules for cyclists was updated and fitted to reality. C'mon Mr Premier, what about it?

Hi David , I have listened the Radio National broadcast and it's trajic that a young guy lost his life in Victoria recently . Two cyclists I've met here in SA have been doored , one has been doored twice , so it's pretty serious .    Here is an article out of Amy Gillet Foundation newsletter  .

I think it's a matter of education and awareness of drivers and passengers , the same as motorists backing out of driveways , I've had a few near misses because people just don't look .  I have a relative who lives in Melbourne who sent me some Anti-Dooring stickers recently , but surely the South Australian Government I think should be interested in producing these stickers also , in the interest of road safety .

What do you think ?  


Bumper stickers could be a useful part of an education strategy although I don't think bumper stickers are as popular as they once were.  Also while "look for bike riders" is a good message, on it's own these stickers say nothing about dooring.

Hi David , these anti-dooring stickers , there are two different ones in each pack . The "look for bike riders" goes on the back windscreen or the bumper bar  , and the "logo" ones go on the inside of the car door , driver and passengers so that the occupants can see it when opening a door and are immediately reminded to be careful of cyclists passing by . I know it will take a long time to make (us) motorists aware , but surely it must be worth a try , and I congratulate the Vic Government for doing so .   

I had not realized some were to go on the inside of the car door.  That certainly may help although I can't see too many people being willing to put a sticker on the inside of their car door and probably most of the people that do are not the ones we need to be most worried about.   Still it is a positive that the vic government is willing to try to do something about the issue.

Penalties - emotion over brains. Education is the way. No ordinary prson wants to "door" another human being!

But a negative outcome for a poor action encourages people to be more careful. The Melbourne woman who doored a young man, leading to his death, was not even charged and fined for opening the door on him.


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