There's a reason why some cyclists ring their bells constantly while riding past parked cars, and it has nothing to do with annoying other people.
That "ding ding ding ding ding" is meant to avoid injury – and potentially death – at the hands of someone who all-too-casually exits a vehicle without checking first to see if the bike lane is clear.
More than 200 people were injured last year by car doors jutting out into bike lanes, according to Toronto Police.
"Dooring," as it's called, is almost always unintentional – but it's not an innocent act. It's a dangerous threat to local cyclists, and some city board members say more could be done to prevent it from happening.
A motion set to go before the city's Public Works Committee on Wednesday recommends that City Council ask the province for several regulatory changes in an effort to reduce the number of dooring (or "door-prize") incidents in Toronto.
These changes, originally proposed by Board of Health Education Representative Chris Glover, include:
- Making drivers at least partially responsible for passengers who door cyclists
- Adding dooring incidents to Ontario's formal collision reporting process
- Revising driver education programs and the G1 Knowledge Test to teach new drivers about dooring prevention techniques, like the "Dutch Reach"
- Introducing new training requirements for "vehicle-for-hire operators" (ie; Uber drivers)
- Requiring that rear view mirrors be installed on all passenger doors in taxis and other for-hire vehicles
Currently, drivers who are convicted of dooring can be fined up to $1000 with three demerit points in Ontario.
When it's a passenger, on the other hand – as might be the case with an Uber vehicle – the driver of that vehicle faces no penalties at all.
If the Board of Health's recommendations are implemented, Uber (and soon, Lyft) drivers would be required to undergo more rigorous training on how to avoid doorings.
A Beck Taxi operations manager told CBC News in an interview this week that city taxi drivers are already required to complete a course at Centennial College that covers warning passengers about cyclists.
by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO