When cycling on the road or in bike lanes, it’s important to not only be aware of traffic behind you as you’re trying to pass a car that is parked on the side of the road, but to also watch out for car doors opening.

I’ve been pretty lucky so far, but lucky in a really ‘alert’ kind of way in that I haven’t had a close call with a car door, but the idea sure makes me nervous every day!

The Greens in Victoria are going to introduce a bill to their state parliament to create penalties for car door crashes. They suggest increasing demerit points for drivers who cause car door crashes – and say that this would bring the penalties for this offence into line with offences such as running a red light or driving past a stationary tram which has its doors open.

Greg Barber states:

Cycling as a form of transport and recreation is growing rapidly. Accidents are also increasing, but not as fast as cyclist numbers, suggesting that the increased awareness brought about by more cyclists on the roads of itself creates ‘safety in numbers’. This bill is an important measure to protect vulnerable road users.

I sure feel vulnerable when cycling and I do think it’s a good idea to introduce legislation as sticks rather than carrots have shown to be effective, but I also maintain that we invest in driver, pedestrian and cyclist education and awareness campaigns. When you look at the $ going into a Queensland Rail etiquette campaign on trains (a complete waste of money as far as I’m concerned) and assess that alongside a road user awareness campaign, I know what I’d like to see.

Mostly I wish people would just be more aware, compassionate and respectful of other people and their unique needs. That way, we wouldn’t need legislation or campaigns.

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