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Otago researchers create online injured cyclist-door crash map

Aerial view of campus

Thursday, 7 February 2013 9:48am

A searchable online map showing where in New Zealand cyclists have been injured as a result of car doors opening has been created by University of Otago injury prevention researchers.

The researchers hope that the publicly available tool, which overlays data extracted from New Zealand Traffic Crash Reports from 2007-11 onto Google Maps™, will help city planners and traffic engineers identify streets and connected routes that have high numbers of injuries resulting from "dooring" type collisions.

University of Otago Injury Prevention Research Unit Director Professor Hank Weiss says the interactive map, which appears to be the first of its kind to cover an entire country, will also let cyclists and safety advocates see where the local dooring hazard areas are.

"By highlighting particular problem areas we can look at what kind of solutions can make these streets safe and convenient for all road users. While this may involve compromises, we need to pay special attention to the vulnerability of cyclists who wish to ride in safer environments."

The map shows the approximate location of 245 cycle dooring injuries over this period and indicates their seriousness and the direction the cyclist was travelling.

Users can also click through to a Street View™ of the crash area to see a photograph of the way the road side might have looked.

About 20% of the 245 the cyclists 'doored' were seriously injured and two died. Twice as many males as females were reported to have been in a dooring crash.

Professor Weiss says the 245 incidents over the five years is very likely an undercount as it would not necessarily include cyclists injured after swerving to avoid doors and many such events go unreported to police. Still, he says, "it is great to have such fine detail about the crash type and location for so many cases."

Professor Weiss was prompted to develop the tool following the 2010 death of a cyclist on Auckland's Tamaki Drive. This roadway shows up on the map as one in which there has been a cluster of crashes. Other larger city dooring hazard areas already revealed through the tool include Victoria St in Hamilton, and Riccarton Rd in Christchurch. 

Access to the map, its description, and discussion of issues around dooring and its prevention is available in the research section of the IPRU web site.

For more information, contact:

Professor Hank Weiss
Director, Injury Prevention Research Unit
Dept of Preventive & Social Medicine
Dunedin School of Medicine
University of Otago
Tel 64 3 479 4168
hank.weiss@otago.ac.nz

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