Cyclist in hospital after being 'doored' on Oak Bay Avenue

A woman is in hospital after being knocked off her e-bike by a parked motorist who opened a vehicle door into the cyclist’s path on Oak Bay Avenue.

Victoria police officers were called to the intersection of Oak Bay and Fell Street shortly after noon Wednesday, where they found a woman suffering from non-life-threatening injuries. She was treated at the scene before being taken to hospital.

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The driver was issued a $368 fine under B.C.’s new “dooring” legislation. Dooring, which refers to someone opening a vehicle door into the path of oncoming traffic, can seriously injure or kill a cyclist. It can also force a cyclist to swerve into moving traffic.

Paul Bowden, owner of Chamberlain Walk Hair Design, watched the collision from inside his salon. He said the driver opened her door, and the cyclist tried to swerve to avoid the obstacle and caught her foot on the door.

“She lost control and went straight down,” he said.

People rushed to help the woman who’d been knocked down on the road. Bowden said she was sitting up and able to speak.

Matt Dell, who lives nearby, heard people yelling and rushed over to see what happened. He saw people gathering the woman’s belongings off the road and others directing traffic away from the scene.

Dell said the stretch of road where the incident occurred, which has no bike lanes, is dangerous for cyclists, and he encouraged concerned residents to share their thoughts with the city.

The City of Victoria is currently seeking public input on three options for a cycling corridor in the area, one of which would be built on Oak Bay Avenue.

The design would remove on-street parking on one side of the road to create a protected bike lane. Traffic lanes would be narrowed to accommodate a protected bike lane on the other side of the road, separated from vehicles by a parking lane.

Proposals are also being considered on Fort Street and a Fort-Leighton Road combination.

Last month, Oak Bay police issued their first dooring fine just a few blocks away from Wednesday’s incident. A driver parked on Monterey Avenue, close to Oak Bay Avenue, opened his door without checking behind him for cyclists. A cyclist was hit and suffered minor injuries.

Corey Burger, policy and infrastructure chair of the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition, said one of the reasons doorings happen on Oak Bay Avenue is because there’s high turnover of parked cars in the shopping area.

“There are lots of doors opening. That’s where risk is. It’s really important we recognize it’s a challenging place to put a bike lane, but that’s exactly where they’re needed,” he said. “Dooring is an entirely preventable type of crash, and the fix is infrastructure.”

The coalition favours creating protected bike lanes on Oak Bay Avenue over the other options, because the road lacks any bike infrastructure, whereas Fort Street at least has painted lanes, he said.

In September, the fine for dooring a cyclist in B.C. jumped to $368 from $81.

regan-elliott@timescolonist.com

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