Ottawa's Deputy Police Chief 'doored' in cycling incident
Published Tuesday, September 9, 2014 5:50PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 9, 2014 6:45PM EDT
It happens all too often to cyclists; one of their greatest fears: getting hit by a driver opening his door.
It happened yesterday to Ottawa’s Deputy Police Chief Jill Skinner. The officer, wearing bright reflective material was so shocked that it happened; she took to social media to warn drivers to be careful.
“The lady opened her door and jammed it into the side of my bike,” says Deputy Police Chief Jill Skinner explains today to CTV Ottawa, as she puts on her reflective vest and helmet for a short bike ride.
Ottawa's second top cop has been cycling home from work for years. Yesterday, around 5:30 p.m. she was riding along Wellington Street when she says a woman flung open her door right into her path.
"She started to give excuses but really, it's about taking that one second to look in the rearview mirror and she agreed and will be more aware of her surroundings.”
It's called "dooring" and it's what killed cyclist Danielle Nacu three years ago in downtown Ottawa . The 33-year-old was biking to work on Queen Street October 11, 2011 when she was hit by a car door, knocking her off her bike and into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
It's something far too many cyclists are familiar with.
“Yeah, I’ve been hit before,” says one woman as she cycles along the same path that Deputy Chief Skinner was doored.
Cyclist Grant Burke recalls his “dooring” incident, “Kinda clipped my right side, punched the door with my hand and holding my handlebar. I was scraped up a bit.”
For drivers, a simple shoulder check could save a life.
“I think unconsciously I’m aware of my surrounding,” says driver Pasteur Rasuli, “but I don't look specifically to see if there's a bicycle passing by.”
The Ontario government introduced legislation in April called “Keeping Ontario’s Roads Safe Act, that addresses “dooring”, increasing demerit points and fines but some cyclists, including the Deputy Police Chief say that's not necessarily the answer.
Deputy Chief Skinner could have given the driver a ticket. Instead, she gave her a "talking to" and took to Twitter to educate others.
tweeting about her close call and hoping other drivers will learn from it.
“I’ve got to tell you with the Twitter response, a whole lot more people will be aware of what's going on,” she says.