Dooring Alert: Stolen Cars Being Used to Violently Attack Bicyclists

You may recall that the invention of the car license plate was to help stop hit and run crimes against cyclists (and pedestrians).

A prominently displayed number on a plate was supposed to help increase chances of criminal prosecution, making roads safer.

Fast forward to today and the license plate gets reported as useless while cars are targeting bicyclists in hit and run attacks known as “dooring”.

Here’s a perfect example from 2022. Everything is caught on video by the bicyclist, and yet…

Walker contacted the police as soon as he got home, who were unable to determine the owner of the vehicle that “doored” him. Walker said the police told him they suspect the license plates were cloned. (License plate cloning is the illegal act of “displaying someone else’s registration number on a vehicle to hide its true identity.”)

What is dooring? It’s an insidious crime, described here from the victim perspective.

…it was a deliberate hit and not someone misjudging a close pass,” Walker told Bicycling. Footage from the rearview camera he keeps mounted on his bike revealed two cars coming up from behind him on the road. The backdoor on the second car opened as it approached Walker and made hard contact with him.

A passenger in a car uses the door, opening it suddenly like a battering weapon from behind, to inflict physical harm on cyclists.

It’s not isolated, or a case of one interaction, and more like an organized antisocial trend especially among those who set out with a hit and run mentally.

That means whether a passenger is in an Uber, or in a stolen car with bogus plates, the car door is increasingly used as a weapon with far too little accountability.

At least 200 similar dooring cases, in which a car door opening at the wrong time injures a cyclist, have been reported in the past five years, based on data from TransBASE. The total number is likely higher, as the data only includes incidents reported to the police. […] “The biggest problem we see is actually about Uber,” said Michael Stephenson, the founding attorney of Bay Area Bicycle Law. “A lot of cyclists who are calling us are getting doored by passengers.”

Another video has just been released that details how cars carefully target cyclists, and swing the door as a weapon.

These assaults appear to be happening to multiple cyclists over the course of several days, suggesting they are not isolated attacks. At least 14 cyclists have been targeted and eight have been hit…. “Some of the people said that they were being intentionally rammed from behind to be knocked over,” Charlotte Hryse, a volunteer with East Bay Bike Party said in an interview with ABC7 News. One of the perpetrators was caught on video by a local cyclist. In the incident caught on the riders bike cam, the vehicle is seen moving at driving speed when the driver swerves up next to a cyclist riding in a bike lane. The passenger in the vehicle then flings the passenger side door open in an attempt to hit the cyclist.

And here’s the real kicker to the story, which brings us back to the point about identity and investigations in hit and run attacks.

East Bay Bike Party stated they believe three separate and possibly stolen cars are being used in these attacks. The vehicles are being described as Hyundais or Kias.

The Hyundais or Kias are so notorious for being easy to steal, insurance companies have been refusing to cover them.

The big question looming in cities will become why are they enabling such brazen crimes with cars, terrorism even, instead of investing in safe cycling infrastructure. It costs a city far less to protect the cyclists than ignore an explosion in car crimes.

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