Few think the act of opening a car door as hazardous. Even fewer realize that Arizona Revised Statutes address the act in Title 28 – Transportation:
A.R.S. § 28-905. Opening vehicle door. A person shall not open a door on a motor vehicle unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic. A person shall not leave a door open on a side of a motor vehicle exposed to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload a passenger.
The door zone is a 5-foot wide area in which the bicyclist is in danger of being struck by the car door when it is opened suddenly. When a driver-side door is opened, the bicyclists either strikes the door and flips over and to the left into traffic, or the bicyclist swerves into traffic in order to avoid hitting the door. When a passenger-side door is opened, a bicyclist riding on the sidewalk is likewise struck and/or loses control of the bicycle trying to avoid being struck. We have assisted bicyclist clients who were injured by people negligently opening car doors.
One vehicle driver tip is to open your door with the hand opposite the hand nearest the door. If you open the driver-side door with your right hand, it forces you to turn your torso and look out the window before opening the door.
Bicycle riders must always be alert to potential danger from larger vehicles. Look into car windows and rear view mirrors to detect drivers and passengers who may exit at any time and always consider taxis to be booby traps.