The Transport Accident Commission hopes a tactile reminder will prompt motorists to think more about cyclists in a bid to curb car-dooring accidents.
Dooring incidents have resulted in hundreds of injuries and two deaths in recent years across Victoria.
TAC senior road safety manager Samantha Cockfield said The Rider Reminder had been developed to raise awareness of the need for vehicle occupants to check for cyclists before opening their doors.
The Rider Reminder is a small piece of blue rubber that motorists can stick on the inside of their interior car door handle. It is designed to feel like a bicycle handlebar grip, reminding drivers and passengers of potential presence of cyclists and prompting them to check before opening the door.
“This is not intended to be any kind of silver bullet. It’s about raising awareness of the issue and giving motorists and passengers a bit of a nudge at that crucial point before they step out of their vehicles,” Ms Cockfield said.
“Opening the door without looking may seem like a harmless act but the danger for an approaching cyclist is very real.”
Major thoroughfares such as Melbourne’s St Kilda Road and Sydney Road have seen hundreds of crashes caused by motorists opening car doors into oncoming cyclists. On these two roads alone, there were almost 200 injury crashes in the five years to December 2014, according to VicRoads statistics.
VicRoads figures also show there were 183 car-dooring incidents in Victoria in 2014, including 177 in the Melbourne metropolitan area.
The Rider Reminder has gained the support of Tour de France winner Cadel Evans, who called on Victorians to consider the risks to approaching cyclists before opening their doors.
“From personal experience, I find doorings one of the most scary things because it can happen at any time and the costs for a bike rider are very high,” Evans said.
“I think any small thing we can do in our lives that can prevent an accident is worthwhile. I definitely recommend The Rider Reminder.”
Cyclists also need to remain vigilant, leaving a space between the side of parked cars and their path of travel to avoid doors if they open. Wearing light and bright clothing, and using flashing lights day and night will help cyclists be seen.
The Rider Reminder will be available in leading bike shops and in selected cafes across Melbourne.
2 November 2015