Car doors and cyclists

Last Friday, I was supposed to meet a friend for a drink, but he was unable to make it as his girlfriend had been knocked off her bike thanks to a driver opening their car door without looking. He went with her to hospital, where luckily it turned out she didn't have any broken bones, but one of her knees was badly swollen, and she was unable to walk very well. I don't know if she was mobile enough to be able to go to work this morning. 

I have been cycling to work and using my bike to get around in my free time for several years (in Brussels and London) and intend to continue doing this after I move to Leeds (at Easter). The only time I've been knocked off my bike in London was also as a result of a car door. In my case, I was cycling very slowly up a quiet residential street, so I wasn't badly hurt, although it did make me very nervous around parked cars for several weeks after that.

I wonder how many other cyclists have encountered this car door problem? I also wonder whether car drivers realise the potential danger, especially as more people cycle to work in our cities.

Of course, the most serious threat to cyclists are lorries, which are a common cause of serious and fatal accidents involving cyclists. When one of their journalists was seriously injured in an accident involving an HGV, the Times Newspaper began a "cities fit for cycling" campaign.

Other European countries like the Netherlands and Germany seem to be better at making it easier and safer for people to cycle around. I wonder what we could learn from them?

Interesting links:
European Cyclists Federation
UK National Cyclist's Association
Times newspaper "Cities fit for cycling campaign" 

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