Penalty for 'dooring' a cyclist

Speshact
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Penalty for 'dooring' a cyclist

Postby Speshact » 14 May 2009, 6:44pm

having been discussing with a colleague today what the likely penalty is for 'dooring' someone, I'm a bit gobsmacked to see this tonight:

http://www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk/news/4 ... fractures/

Woman fined after crash left cyclist with skull fractures
4:00pm Thursday 14th May 2009

A woman has been fined in connection with a crash which left a cyclist with a fractured skull.

Judith Carpenter, 47, of Woodland View, Dilton Marsh near Westbury, opened the door of her VW Sharan onto Thomas Ludlow, who was riding past on his bicycle at the time. The crash happened in Union Street, Trowbridge, at about 2pm on January 9. Mr Ludlow’s skull was fractured in two places.

Carpenter, who admitted a charge of opening her vehicle door so as to injury or endanger another person, was fined £70 and £50 in costs and victim surcharge at Chippenham Magistrates’ Court on Friday. Magistrates sentenced Carpenter in her absence, after she admitted the charge by post.
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How severe a fine is that? - by way of comparison, if you have not paid the Congestion Charge by midnight on the following charging day Transport for London may issue a Penalty Charge Notice for £120 to the registered keeper of the vehicle.

Flinders
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Re: Penalty for 'dooring' a cyclist

Postby Flinders » 14 May 2009, 8:22pm

I suppose the cyclist would sue for compensation, so that would add something to it, but it is a pathetic fine. It'll cost the court more than that to do the paperwork.

A passenger did this to me when I was stationary at the lights alongside a car (talk about not looking!). Though I was knocked over onto the kerb, I wasn't hurt, but if I had been, a passenger wouldn't be insured, so I suppose there would have been no compensation at all.

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Si
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Re: Penalty for 'dooring' a cyclist

Postby Si » 14 May 2009, 8:40pm

A passenger did this to me when I was stationary at the lights alongside a car (talk about not looking!). Though I was knocked over onto the kerb, I wasn't hurt, but if I had been, a passenger wouldn't be insured, so I suppose there would have been no compensation at all.


You could have claimed on the driver's insurance - as they are in charge of the vehicle. I was doored by a passenger - the driver wasn't even in the car at the time but his insurance paid up.

thirdcrank
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Re: Penalty for 'dooring' a cyclist

Postby thirdcrank » 14 May 2009, 9:14pm

Digging into my memory, I think this is a 'Con and Use' offence. I think the driver can commit an offence by permitting a passenger to open a car door dangerously. Unfortunately, I cannot check this on line because the regs were published in 1986 so they are not available on line.

That fine does seem to be a joke.

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EdinburghFixed
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Re: Penalty for 'dooring' a cyclist

Postby EdinburghFixed » 14 May 2009, 11:00pm

Presumably this is one of these "the consequences cannot be used in sentencing" offences, like careless/dangerous driving. So the fine for careless door opening is £70 whether you made a patrol car swerve, or killed a child. An odd state of affairs on the face of things.

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worthers
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Re: Penalty for 'dooring' a cyclist

Postby worthers » 15 May 2009, 11:13am

Shockingly light sentence :evil:

irc
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Re: Penalty for 'dooring' a cyclist

Postby irc » 15 May 2009, 11:33am

Regardless of the level of fine I find it annoying that this person, whose carelessness caused a cyclist to get a fractured skull didn't even have to bother herself turning up in court.
Civil action for damages is of course the way to go.

Meanwhile I've given up trying to persuade my local council that a marked cycle lane within the doorzone of a line of parked cars on a downhill stretch of road is a bad idea. At least if a cyclist is injured there they can sue the council as well as the council has been well warned.
No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?

PBA
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Re: Penalty for 'dooring' a cyclist

Postby PBA » 15 May 2009, 11:42am

irc wrote:Meanwhile I've given up trying to persuade my local council that a marked cycle lane within the doorzone of a line of parked cars on a downhill stretch of road is a bad idea. At least if a cyclist is injured there they can sue the council as well as the council has been well warned.


Well done. I trust you have found an alternative route yourself?

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NUKe
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Re: Penalty for 'dooring' a cyclist

Postby NUKe » 15 May 2009, 11:57am

Just to put things in perspective
Firstly the fine is not the compensation. The compensation will reflect the injuries
The actions of the lady in question was probably a momentary lapse and not a malicious act or bad driving.
And the full facts of the case can not be gleaned from the press report

Cycles should move further out round parked vehicles It might be the car occupants fault but your the one that gets hurt. I feel that we should looking to ourselves to protect ourselves by defensive riding. If the cars spaces are in the cycle lane take control and move into the carriage way. I pass these type of spaces every morning and move into the carriage way.
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thirdcrank
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Re: Penalty for 'dooring' a cyclist

Postby thirdcrank » 15 May 2009, 12:23pm

NUKe wrote:... Cycles should move further out round parked vehicles It might be the car occupants fault but your the one that gets hurt. I feel that we should looking to ourselves to protect ourselves by defensive riding. If the cars spaces are in the cycle lane take control and move into the carriage way. I pass these type of spaces every morning and move into the carriage way. ...


Some years ago, when I was still naive enough to believe in participating in consultation exercises, I replied to a consultation document published by the so-called Driver Standards Agency (possibly driving standards) about a revision of the HIghway Code. Rule 67 includes this advice to cyclists:
67
You should

look all around before moving away from the kerb, turning or manoeuvring, to make sure it is safe to do so. Give a clear signal to show other road users what you intend to do (see 'Signals to other road users')
look well ahead for obstructions in the road, such as drains, pot-holes and parked vehicles so that you do not have to swerve suddenly to avoid them. Leave plenty of room when passing parked vehicles and watch out for doors being opened or pedestrians stepping into your path
be aware of traffic coming up behind you
take extra care near road humps, narrowings and other traffic calming features
take care when overtaking (see Rules 162-169)

I made the point that the rules on drivers overtaking cyclists should be expanded to include a cross-reference to that rule advising drivers to to allow cyclists to comply with the advice. Having applied for my copy of the consultation document, I received a hearty (standard) letter of thanks from the top functionary at the DSA assuring me that my submission had received careful consideration - amazing since I had not yet submitted it :evil: And there is still no advice to drivers that they should allow cyclists to avoid car doors.

Tom Richardson
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Re: Penalty for 'dooring' a cyclist

Postby Tom Richardson » 15 May 2009, 1:29pm

EdinburghFixed wrote:Presumably this is one of these "the consequences cannot be used in sentencing" offences, like careless/dangerous driving.


consequences can not be used in sentencing.......except that if they regularly come close to killing someone but haven't done so yet their actions can be ignored

irc
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Re: Penalty for 'dooring' a cyclist

Postby irc » 15 May 2009, 5:12pm

PBA wrote:
irc wrote:Meanwhile I've given up trying to persuade my local council that a marked cycle lane within the doorzone of a line of parked cars on a downhill stretch of road is a bad idea. At least if a cyclist is injured there they can sue the council as well as the council has been well warned.


Well done. I trust you have found an alternative route yourself?


No. I still use the route. I ride outside the lane. It gets me the odd bit of hassle from drivers who don't understand why I'm not using the facility. But I'll take a few peeps on a horn instead of a dooring any day.

The following photo is a bit deceptive. At the point where the car door is open the road is flat or slightly uphill. This is after a downhill though so even slow cyclists like me are typically doing 18-22mph.


cyclelane.jpg
A cycle "facility" in East Dunbartonshire
No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?

PBA
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Re: Penalty for 'dooring' a cyclist

Postby PBA » 18 May 2009, 6:27pm

irc wrote:No. I still use the route.


Sorry if my comment sounded glib (it does to me on re-reading). That looks like a nasty bit of road. You are correct to have reported your concerns to the authorities.

If it was me I would be looking for an alternative route! I'm guessing that there is not one readily available. This is one of those (not infrequent)occasions where the cycle lane actually makes matters worse. Given the relative danger of a car fast approaching from behind compared to the possibility of being doored, I think I'd go with the "slight" chance of being doored and use the cycle lane. Of course I don't know the road.

From the photograph the footway seems wide enough to support segregated use. This is far from ideal and never suitable at the speeds you describe but if they were then to remove the cycle lane from the road, cyclists riding in the road would be less inclined to pass so close to the parked cars and might even get more space from the overtaking motorists!

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Re: Penalty for 'dooring' a cyclist

Postby PBA » 18 May 2009, 6:35pm

...and on a second note - the vehicle lane is actually quite wide, but the central turn lane is narrow. I suspect turning vehicles impede the forward flow of other vehicles. An inattentive driver discovering this ahead of them might instictively move to the left...

irc
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Re: Penalty for 'dooring' a cyclist

Postby irc » 18 May 2009, 9:58pm

PBA wrote:
irc wrote:No. I still use the route.


Sorry if my comment sounded glib (it does to me on re-reading). That looks like a nasty bit of road. You are correct to have reported your concerns to the authorities.

If it was me I would be looking for an alternative route! I'm guessing that there is not one readily available. This is one of those (not infrequent)occasions where the cycle lane actually makes matters worse. Given the relative danger of a car fast approaching from behind compared to the possibility of being doored, I think I'd go with the "slight" chance of being doored and use the cycle lane. Of course I don't know the road.

From the photograph the footway seems wide enough to support segregated use. This is far from ideal and never suitable at the speeds you describe but if they were then to remove the cycle lane from the road, cyclists riding in the road would be less inclined to pass so close to the parked cars and might even get more space from the overtaking motorists!


Thanks, but I didn't read your comment as glib. No apology necessary.

Changing route is sometimes a reasonable solution to problems of various kinds. I've changed my route for late night commuting due to a high risk of being assaulted at one point (a slow uphill past a scheme in the east end of Glasgow). There is no reasonable alternative for the route pictured though. My commute is 10 miles each way. Overall I believe riding on the footway would increase danger, (whatever the legal position). At the point in the photo I'd have a junction to cross which would involve giving way and braking every time.

Removing the cycle lane was one solution I suggested. The other was removing the right turn lane. At about 6 feet it isn't wide enough and cars waiting to turn right mean cars going straight ahead have to encroach on the cycle lane anyway.

The basic problem is the the "planners" put 2 traffic lanes, two cycle lanes, a right turn lane, and a parking lane in a road that wasn't wide enough. The proper solution would be to widen the road by 3 feet by narrowing the footway. This won't get done as it costs more than putting a bit of paint down.
No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?