In the realm of road safety, the peril of dooring presents a grave and potentially fatal threat to motorcyclists. This hazardous phenomenon occurs when a motor vehicle occupant opens their car door without checking for oncoming motorcycles, causing a collision between the door and the motorcycle.
Considering motorcycles are 3% of all vehicles on the road but are part of 14% of all fatal crashes as of 2021, according to the National Safety Council, those riding on motorcycles need to stay alert.
One primary reason for the danger of dooring lies in inadequate visibility. Motorcyclists have a relatively small profile on the road, making them less conspicuous than larger vehicles.
When a car door opens unexpectedly, it may block the motorcyclist’s path before they have time to react. The limited visibility factor makes it important for both drivers and passengers to be acutely aware of their surroundings before opening their doors.
Limited reaction time
Another aspect contributing to the danger of dooring is the limited reaction time available to motorcyclists. Unlike cars, motorbikes lack the protective metal frames and crumple zones that absorb impact.
When confronted with a suddenly opened car door, motorcyclists have scant seconds to evade a collision. This abbreviated reaction window elevates the risk of serious injury or even fatality.
Absence of protective barriers
The absence of protective barriers further exacerbates the peril of dooring for motorcyclists. In a car, occupants have numerous safety features such as airbags, seatbelts and the car’s structural design. Motorcyclists, on the other hand, are vulnerable to direct impact with the opening door. The lack of protective barriers accentuates the severity of injuries in case of a collision.
Potential for ejection
One alarming consequence of dooring incidents is the potential for motorcyclists to face ejection from their bikes. The abruptness of the collision can throw riders off balance, causing them to lose control and fall to the ground. Such ejections not only result in immediate injuries but also increase the risk of another vehicle striking them on the road.
Even a few seconds of distractions can lead to a car dooring a motorcyclist, and it is important for drivers and motorcyclists to know how to stay safe.