Uber aims to school passengers on how to avoid “dooring” bicyclists.
Getting “doored” has long been a fear-inducing issue for cyclists. It’s when a passenger or driver opens a car door in the path of a bike rider, causing the cyclist to crash. What can result is anything from bruises to broken bones and head injuries.
Dooring accidents might be on the rise now that ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are increasingly picking up and dropping off passengers on busy city streets.
Uber announced a pilot program on Wednesday aimed at increasing safety around drivers, passengers and cyclists. In select cities, it’s now including an in-app feature that tells passengers via push notification if they’re being dropped off on a street with a bike lane and to look out for cyclists. The company is also reminding drivers it’s illegal to stop in a bike lane in most cities.
Lyft rolled out a similar program around preventing dooring last month.
Uber and Lyft are also encouraging riders to get in the habit of doing the “Dutch Reach.” This is a technique where passengers and drivers look over their shoulder before exiting a vehicle to make sure no one is there.
“As the experts say, increasing awareness of safe behavior increases safety,” Kristin Smith, Uber’s road safety product marketing manager, wrote in a blog post. “As a daily bike commuter and bike safety advocate, I know firsthand the challenges of urban bike commuting.”
A quick Google search brings up dozens of legal forums with people asking questions about what to do after being doored by Uber passengers.
A lawsuit was filed in Boston against an Uber driver and passenger that accidentally doored a cyclist in 2015, according to ABC. The passenger said he didn’t know he was being dropped off on a street with a bike lane. Uber reportedly said it’s insurance won’t cover the lawsuit in the case of the passenger.
An Uber spokeswoman said the company’s new safety initiatives around dooring aren’t because of any lawsuits.
Uber’s pilot officially starts in San Francisco, Washington, DC, New York City and Toronto as of Wednesday.