(Quebec) More than two years after the death of a Montreal cyclist victim of dooring, the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) has finally decided to implement a simple recommendation from the coroner and will teach new drivers opening the door “Dutch style”.
La Presse revealed in June 2022 that the SAAQ was slow to adopt the extremely simple recommendation of coroner Geneviève Thériault. The organization pressed the accelerator in the wake of the article.
“Opening the door using the pivot technique has been integrated into the content of the Road Safety Education Program (RSEP), as well as the various reference guides used by students and trainers”, confirms a SAAQ spokesperson, Anne Marie Dussault Turcotte.
The pivot opening, or Dutch door, simply consists of opening the door with the opposite hand. For a driver, it is a question of opening the door with the right hand. The simple twist of the bust then directs the motorist’s gaze towards the rear view mirror, which increases his chances of seeing a bicycle appear.
“Our manuals have all been updated, we have added doorwork, pillars, blind spots” as well as the pivot opening technique, confirms the general manager of the Association of Driving Schools of Quebec, Marc Thompson. “It is also taught in theoretical online training and in practical training. »
The arrival of the “Dutch door” in Quebec rejoices Vélo Québec, which emphasizes that dooring is a scourge. Every week in Montreal, the Montreal Police Service counts an average of three doorings. “This is just the tip of the iceberg,” warns Magali Bebronne, program director at Vélo Québec.
She now hopes that this simple technique will be integrated by motorists, that it will become an automatism like putting on your seatbelt.
However, Vélo Québec reminds that a set of measures must be put in place to reduce dooring, including better facilities. “That’s why you have to stop cycle lanes next to parked cars,” notes Magali Bebronne, who also urges cyclists to ride at least one meter away from parked cars.
The coroner had looked into the death of Jean-Pierre Lefebvre. The 63-year-old cyclist was riding his bicycle on July 6, 2020. A motorist who had not seen him opened his door on the cyclist, who fell and hit his head on the ground. He died on arrival at the hospital.
In her report, coroner Geneviève Thériault recommended, in particular, that new Quebec motorists be taught to open their doors with their opposite hand – “Dutch style” – which could save lives.
“My research has allowed me to learn that to avoid dooring, it is advisable for the motorist to carefully check his blind spot, look in his mirror and open the door with the hand opposite the door ( in this way the driver must turn on his axis, which facilitates the verification of the blind spot), “wrote Me Thériault.
Coroner Thériault’s report was published in the summer of 2021. It remained unanswered for a year. The SAAQ had still not started thinking about teaching this technique to new drivers at the time of the publication of the article in La Presse in June 2022. The thinking then seemed to happen very quickly.