In many of my previous blog articles I have touched on the safety hazards that cyclists face each day while riding in Toronto. One of the most feared and dangerous threats posed by our busy city streets is, of course, the collision of a moving vehicle with a cyclist. However, in addition to moving vehicles, “dooring” has also brought down many cyclists in their riding prime. I have spoken about dooring in a previous article, identifying it as a collision caused by drivers opening their doors and cyclists being unable to swerve. When a cyclist hits a car door there can be serious consequences including long-term, debilitating injury or death.
I am constantly researching different biking issues and opportunities that arise in our city. This week was no different, and I found dozens of articles speaking directly to these aforementioned safety hazards. One Toronto cyclist was so put off by the fact that Toronto Police do not record doorings that he decided to create a website where these accidents can be recorded and measured. Thanks to his efforts, www.Doored.ca is now up and running. This website allows you to report dooring incidents and keep track of them in accordance with their time of occurrence, location and severity. This data is compiled alongside a map that designates where the incident took place.
The creator of Doored.ca is Justin Bull. On Metro Morning, he put forth excellent reasoning behind his decision to create this innovative app. When Ontario redefined what a collision meant, they took dooring incidents right off of the map. The new definition precludes dooring because, despite the severity of the resultant injuries, it is not realized as the collision of two vehicles that are in motion. This exclusion of dooring prevents police officers from having to keep track of the incidents – so Bull is doing that job for them.
Many cyclists are saluting Bull’s efforts. However, the majority acknowledge that this sliver of education is not going to protect cyclists. Although the visibility of the numbers may encourage our community to recognize that dooring is actually a significant issue, this may not be enough to save lives. Therefore, in response to this enthusiastic act, many cyclists have put forth ideas regarding how to lessen the likelihood of such incidents.
Many Torontonian cyclists suggest that the fine for dooring, which is only $85, should be increased to discourage drivers from being so careless. Others argue that the municipality should readdress the issue, reopening it to be considered as a collision and thereby taken more seriously. Toronto’s own Police Chief recognizes that the issue significantly impacts citizens’ commutes each day; however, there is no easy resolution to be found at this time. Therefore, I put it out to all of you: how can we decrease the number of doorings in Toronto? Is there a way that will create more good than harm (in the way of driver/cyclist rivalry)?