There is a danger zone for cyclists next to parked cars. A car door springs open in a fraction of a second, and if a cyclist is passing by at that moment close to the car they can be knocked off balance or onto the ground, resulting in serious injury and possibly death. This kind of collision is known as “dooring.”
What cyclists should know
Stay out of the “dooring” danger zone, about one metre from parked cars. That way, even if a motorist opens a door without warning, you're far enough away to avoid it. Follow sharrows where they have been provided, which assist with cyclists’ positioning in a shared lane. Take extra space in the lane if you need to do so. Remember that you have the right to “take the lane” if necessary.
Don’t weave in out between parked cars, since this will make it more difficult for motorists to anticipate your movements. Ride in a straight line a safe distance away from parked cars.
What motorists should know
Take care when opening your car door. Look first and open your car door slowly. You are required by Section 165 of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act to check for traffic – including cyclists – before opening your car door. A quick turn of your head is all it takes.
Park close to the curb in order to minimize how far your car door opens into the adjacent lane.
Share the road with cyclists who must “take the lane” for safety reasons.