Home > Car Culture > Easy trick to prevent a “door prize”

Easy trick to prevent a “door prize”

September 6, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

My last inbound trip on RapidRide Friday was stuck in heavy traffic on 3rd Ave. It turns out the cause was one of our trolley buses stopped on 3rd after hitting the door of a parked car, presumably after the driver opened it without looking to see if the lane was clear. (This is known as a “Door Prize” and is, sadly, quite common)

I made an announcement to inform my passengers of the reason for the delay and used the opportunity to provide advice on how to avoid such a collision: open your car door with your right hand and check the oncoming traffic before opening it. This advice is so simple and easy and yet it commonly goes unheeded. Interestingly enough, the Washington State Driver’s Guide informs prospective drivers “If parked at a curb, look before you open any door in the path of a car, bicycle, or pedestrian”. This information is contained in the “Space for bicycles” section, but easily could be part of a general safety tips section. After all, buses, trucks, and other cars travel next to parked cars – all of which can do a lot of damage. Checking the oncoming traffic won’t just potentially save a cyclist’s life, it may also save your fingers.

Be safe…


  1. September 6, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    “Dooring” is also a problem for those on bicycles. The bike rider can get badly hurt. The vehicle owner likely will get a sprung door from the incident as well as a ticket from the police if they respond to the incident.

  2. September 6, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    It’s also state law that you have to look first: http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=46.61.620

  3. September 6, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Joseph: Interestingly enough, cops typically fault the car driver when they are requested to investigate parked car door vs bus interactions: https://velobusdriver.com/2010/03/30/insist-on-a-cop-and-youre-going-to-get-a-ticket/ – It would be interesting to have data on citations written/fault assigned on bike vs car door and bus vs car door though I have no clue how you’d find that data.

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