Three weeks of the Tour of France on TV, equals three weeks of advertisements for Skoda brand cars. Can anyone tell me, exactly, how a Skoda car is good for cycling? I mean, it doesn’t even have sliding doors. (Come to think of it, no cars have sliding doors.)
Some newer New York cabs have sliding doors in the rear, to stop passengers cutting cyclists in half when they hastily decide to alight. I’m wondering why that initiative hasn’t spread like hard-wired smoke detectors, non-slip nosing on stairs, safety ring-pulls on drink cans, or anything else designed to reduce avoidable deaths. Is it because no cyclist has thought to go after the carmaker for damages when they were doored?
Like every other carmaker, Skoda know their doors are lethal to cyclists. They could put their front and rear doors on sliding runners, rather than hinges, and in so doing eliminate an obvious risk, by design. Designing out risk is so much better than expecting humans not to make errors.
Car doors with hinges even kill cyclists in the Netherlands, where supposedly everyone knows to look before opening their doors; alas, even citizens of bicycling nations have their fallible moments. Last year I narrowly avoided being hit by a tradesman’s car door, on the passenger side, in Copenhagen. As for those stickers that well meaning drivers put on their rear vision mirrors, to remind themselves not to carelessly kill us, I think ants would take more comfort from “don’t step on the ants” signs painted on footpaths.
Short of banning cars altogether, we need to: 1. sue car companies for injuries caused by hinged doors; 2. put it to Skoda that they aught to build genuinely bike friendly cars; and 3. find a country to be the first to outlaw cars with hinged doors. Since Australia is an Island and nanny state, I think we aught to take up that particular challenge. Once it upon a time it was normal and acceptable to advertise smoking as good for the lungs. Let’s get together and relegate car doors with hinges to a similar dark chapter in history.