In Toronto, York Region and Waterloo, a collision is defined as “the contact resulting from the motion of a motor vehicle or streetcar or its load that produces property damage, injury, or death.” This doesn’t leave room for the dooring of cyclists, and as a result, there are no police statistics covering incidents of dooring in Toronto. Nor are there any real incentives for motorists to be more cautious. The traffic offence that leads to dooring — improperly opening a vehicle’s door, or opening it longer than necessary — carries a maximum fine of $85. In 2011, just 118 people were convicted of the offences Ontario-wide. According to an article on the topic in the Star, neither the police nor the Ministry of Transportation seem particularly interested in changing the fines, or even in tracking incidents of dooring.
This leaves it to cyclists to track dooring incidents. Justin Bull has created a website to this end, Doored!, which just went live. It allows cyclists to self-report a dooring incident. And it provides an archive of these incidents. Already, there are 12 incidents listed.
What the usefulness or outcome of this initiative will be, remains to be seen. But it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
Meanwhile, remember, if you are doored — even if you are not injured — get the license plate number, the driver’s details, phone the police to register an accident, and get visual documentation if you can. Then file an incident report on Doored!