Dooring: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

http://www.theage.com.au/nsw/sharp-drop-in-fines-for-dooring-20121126-2a3om.html

“DOORING infringements in Melbourne have plunged more than 20 per cent in the past year, according to Victoria Police.
Police issued 149 infringement notices for dooring in 2011-12, down from 187 in the previous financial year. It is the lowest figure since 2007-08 when 119 fines were issued.”

Now, this is a quite extraordinary claim. To quote infringement figures as proof of a drop in behaviour is seriously flawed and incorrectly assumes there is no disconnect between occurrence and enforcement.

I will illustrate this through my experience in April when I was doored while riding in a bike lane.  I smashed my helmet, lost a bunch of skin and did $2600 of damage to my bike.

Off I went to the police, thinking I was armed with everything I needed – all the details of the incident, the driver’s name and address, two independent witnesses and a quote for the damage.

The duty officer at St Kilda Police Station stared at me blankley and said “it’s not necessarily an offence – you were probably partially to blame”.  He also said that unless I had been taken off in an ambulance or the police attended the scene, he was unable to even fill in a police report for my insurance claim.

I then tried Sandringham Police station and was told “they wouldn’t usually pursue this types of incident” and that they couldn’t help me.

The TAC were the same – unless I was hospitalised, they couldn’t even record the incident on their database.

I acknowledge that my N=1 story may not represent the experience of the wider community – but if I were a betting man, I’d say these new figures are not indicative of what is occurring on our roads.

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4 thoughts on “Dooring: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

  1. I can add a number of additional concurring stories to yours. One of which was mine. No injury, no police report and when it came to pursuing damages the driver got threatening and the police remained uninterested. A letter from a lawyer didn’t help either.

    The cop i spoke to later agreed it was an offence but as there was no injury they couldnt help me out. Pointing out the Penalty code [Rule 269 sub-rule 3] is a good start if the cop doesn’t want to help.

    There is apparently a form you can get from the cops to fill out to record the incident but I’ve had no luck locating it.

    I’d rather not have the answer being that I have to fake/exaggerate an injury and call the cops each time something happens just to have it followed up or a record of it occurring.

  2. You should both write to Greg Barber MLC “who obtained the data, [and] said it was unclear if the numbers revealed a drop in dooring incidents or reduced police enforcement.”

    I’m sure some evidence that the figures are a massive underrepresentation of the true numbers would be useful to him in advocating for this issue to be taken more seriously.

    greg.barber@parliament.vic.gov.au or
    Suite G-01, 60 Leicester Street
    Carlton 3053

  3. Yep this was exactly my thought when reading the article. The general lack of interest by vic police is highlighted in the parlimentary inquiry into dooring (a whole lot of good that did…)

    What a lot of coppers don’t realise is the wording of the RR 269:
    A person must not cause a hazard to any person or
    vehicle by opening a door of a vehicle, leaving a
    door of a vehicle open, or getting off, or out of, a
    vehicle.

    The wording means that you do not have to be injured, you don’t even have to hit the door! The door just has to “cause a hazard” for an offence to have occured. Only thing to do is keep pushing it up the line at the police station until someone starts to listen

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