VicRoads has developed a sticker pack to remind drivers and passengers to look for bike riders before getting in and out of their car. The pack is an information card holding a set of four transparent stickers and a bumper sticker. To order your pack online, visit the Victorian Government Bookshop or else visit your local VicRoads Customer Service Centre to pick one up.
Car door statistics
One of the biggest risks to bike riders is car doors being opened into their path. The bike rider may swerve out further into the road or collide with the car door, often with serious consequences.
Between 2007 and 2011 there was an average of 38 serious injuries per year as a result of car door and bike rider collisions. There has been one fatality in the last five years. This is eight per cent of all bike rider serious injuries and fatalities. The proportion of serious injuries is much higher in the Melbourne CBD and surrounds, at approximately 20 per cent.
The regulation and fine
Rule 269(3) of the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2009 states it is an offence to cause a hazard to a person or a vehicle by opening a car door, leaving a door of a vehicle open, or getting off, or out of, a vehicle.
The penalty for this offence is:
- On the spot infringement: 1 penalty unit*.
- Maximum court fine: 3 penalty units.
*1 penalty unit is $122 from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012; this will increase to $140 from 1 July 2012.
Advice for drivers:
Bike riders are legitimate road users, and are therefore entitled to use the road just the same as any other road user. Car drivers and bike riders should share the road safely and look out for each other.
As a driver or a passenger:
- Get into the habit of always using your mirrors and doing a head check before opening your car door (one way to do this is to open the car door with your left hand)
- Bike riders can travel quickly and may be much closer than you think
- When getting into your car, face the oncoming traffic so you can see bike riders (and other road users) travelling towards you. Do not open your car door until they have passed.
- Bike riders can ride between parked cars and the lane of traffic so, as a passenger, do not get out of a stationary car when in moving traffic
- Share the road safely.
Advice for riders:
- Look out for drivers and passengers getting in and out of parked cars
- Be vigilant when riding and ride out of the car door zone
- Wear bright coloured clothing and use lights at night or in conditions of low light
- In places where there are a lot of parked cars, slow down
- If you need to quickly avoid a car door, be aware of traffic behind
- Share the road safely.