Last month we published an article on dooring, this topic continues to make headlines as statistics become known about this potentially fatal incident.
The Toronto Star reported that police traffic services spokesman; Constable Clint Stibbe dismissed the idea of tracking dooring incidents. He stated,” if you [asked], how many days is it sunny, we’re not going to track that”. He continued, to add that the Toronto police force had no intention of recording such collisions.
This “Fordesque” like comment fails to address the paramount issue of serious personal injuries being sustained by cyclists in Toronto, from fractured thumbs to broken shoulders. When these incidents were tracked, from 2007 to 2011 there were approximately 144 dooring incidents per year in Toronto. This is a significant amount of personal injuries. Keep in mind that the police track the number of people injured and killed every holiday weekend. They also track the number of people injured and killed by impaired drivers and recently the number of injuries and deaths resulting from inattentive drivers who are texting or talking on their telephone.
Injuries and fatalities suffered by pedestrians in crosswalks are tracked. Cyclists are as vulnerable to injury as pedestrians, yet the authorities do not consider capturing this data an important matter. Why are personal injuries suffered by cyclists as result of inattentive operators, or passengers of motor vehicles who open their doors without first ascertaining if it is safe to do so, less worthy of reporting? This is a very important question; one that leaves cyclists feeling overlooked by the police department.
The Highway Traffic Act (Ontario) provides for a fine of $85 for improperly opening a vehicle door. In Chicago Illinois, the fine for dooring a cyclist was recently increased to $1000. The Chicago police track dooring accidents. Why is this such a low priority in Toronto? Can a serious injury to a cyclist rationally be compared to a “sunny day”?
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