Monday, 23 May 2011

Cyclists + Car Doors = A&E

In my day job as a TV PR, I'm currently working on a Channel 4 series filmed in the A&E department of King's College Hospital, London.  If you haven't seen it, 24 Hours in A&E is an amazing series, well worth a watch - Wednesdays at 9pm or on 4OD.

24 Hours in A&E (pic: Channel 4)

Anyway, watching the programmes, as I do ahead of transmission, I was struck by just how many cyclists were being treated, usually for head/facial injuries.  And the main culprit, according to the staff?  Car doors...

Well, anyone who's cycled in the city knows that one all too well.  Alongside all the other risks of urban cycling - aggressive cab/van drivers turning across you, getting squashed by a left-turning lorry, kamikaze pedestrians - this is the worst.

There you are, riding along quite happily, when someone - without looking - flings there roadside door open right in front of you.  Of course they then blame you for nearly (or actually) riding into it, as you pick yourself up off the tarmac.

But to avoid every car door you'd have to leave 3 feet of clearance (trust me, I've just checked how far my car door opens!) and ride in the middle of the road - being beeped and shouted at by all the other motorists.

It's a no-win situation.  The only solution is to ride along like a hawk, looking for any hints of someone sat in the driver's seat ready to spring into action (made harder by today's head rests).  And wear a helmet!

Or car drivers could check their mirrors before flinging the door open...