Being doored? It is illegal

Cycling home 8 years ago I was doored.  I was cycling past a parked car, which had been parked for a number of minutes as I cycled up the hill, suddenly the passenger opened their door, knocking me off my bike.  I ended up with some lovely cuts and a square front wheel having gone over the top of the door.

It turns out that the driver had actually committed a criminal offence and would be liable of a fine up to £1000. (RVCUR r. 105; RTA s. 42; RTOA Sch 2). The exact wording is: it’s an offence to open “any door of a vehicle on a road so as to injure or endanger any person.

However, as UK Cycle Rules author Jorren Knibbe commented on the recent Radio 4 legal show Law in Action, this is rarely enforced. Since the 1960’s Mr Knibbe reports only being aware of 2-3 reported cases.

What is particularly interesting is that there doesn’t have to be a crash for the offence to have been committed. If you have to swerve to avoid the crash, then this would be classified as having been endangered by the driver.

For the many of us who’ve had to do this on more than one occasion it’s interesting to read that technically we’ve had an offence committed against us and could have pursued legal action.  If you’ve suffered to me then it is worth knowing that you could pursue a dooring as an offence.  Even if the person who doored you or nearly doored you was a passenger.

The driver or passenger of course can defend themselves by claiming you were riding too close or that there was no danger to you.

Jorren Knibbe has more on what to do if this happens to you in the excellent post Laws of Car Doors.

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