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Open doors -- no welcome sign for bikers

One of the commonest bicycle accidents is the "dooring" - when a motorist opens the car door just before a cyclist slams into it.

One of two things happens - the biker smashes into the car door and sustains serious injury, or the biker veers away from the door and into traffic, sometimes sustaining even more serious injury.

If you have ever seen this kind of accident, you know it isn't pretty. Bicyclists are exceedingly vulnerable to doorings. It is not uncommon to suffer open head wounds, broken bones, fractured skulls and traumatic brain injury.

Doorings happen because drivers aren't looking, aren't thinking about non-motorized traffic.

The best way to reduce the number of dooring accidents is to raise consciousness among motorists. We need to get the message out that street is a naturally dangerous place. Suddenly swinging a door open invites injury to cyclists, motorcyclists, motorists - even to the driver himself or herself, who is about to step into busy traffic.

Decades ago, before bucket seats became the norm, motorists slid across the front seat and exited on the passenger's side. That is no longer an option.

But it is possible to mount a thoughtful campaign to remind motorists of the danger of dooring, just as we have done with the "Start Seeing Motorcycles" campaign.

We would like to see bumper stickers saying LOOK BEFORE OPENING, or CAR DOORS KILL, or simply WATCH FOR CYCLISTS.

We at Scott J. Corwin, see enough of these gruesome accidents. We would like to see greater consciousness of the danger of suddenly opening car doors, and fewer serious injuries from this simple breach of courtesy.

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