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Stewart White, SolicitorI can’t help thinking that Labour MP Margaret Hodge must be regretting getting out her car recently without paying attention to what was going on around her. Not only did she open the car door into the path of a cyclist but she was apparently talking on her mobile phone when it happened.

One of the very first lessons learned when driving a motor vehicle is to always check your mirrors.  Especially when leaving a vehicle it is imperative that mirrors are checked not only on the road side but on the pavement side.  I have represented clients in the past, one of which was a child who was cycling on a pavement who received permanent scarring to her face when she was struck by a door that was opened in her path as she was cycling towards a car from the rear.  Another case involved a young woman who was running for a bus when suddenly a car door swung open causing her to collide with it and leaving her with a knee injury.

Thankfully, the cyclist in this case wasn’t too badly injured, however, If you are involved in a similar type of incident, I would urge you to contact us on 0800 0891331.   Appreciably, a lot of the time, in these situations, you may feel slightly embarrassed about the accident occurring and may leave the scene without noting down details.  Indeed, it would not be a natural thing to do following such an incident. However, the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) are there to award compensation for untraced drivers and indeed, I have advanced a claim successful through the MIB for the pedestrian referred to above who was struck by a car door while running for a bus.

There have been several comments in the media regarding the Margaret Hodge incident with some people criticising the cyclist for cycling too close to the vehicle. People that make comments like this, have no idea how difficult it is for a cyclist on the road and the many things you have to concentrate on, especially when trying to anticipate another’s negligence. It is certainly at the forefront of one’s mind not only hazards from road users travelling in the same direction, opposite direction, coming from give way junctions, people emanating from parked cars, other cyclists(dare I say it) and also pedestrians.  If, on the other hand, separate cycle lanes were provided, then that would severely reduce the risk of accidents like this occurring. I appreciate, that separate cycle lanes exist in my cycling Utopia(and Holland) and it is unlikely, in my lifetime, I will see such provision in this country but it is hoped that once the government considers the recent petition by Kaya Burgess from the Times then we will begin to see improvements cycling provision in the UK. 

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