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Cyclist suffered chest injuries when woman driver opened car door on him

A woman has been fined more than £130 for opening her car door on a cyclist.

In a rare prosecution of this kind, Tracey McGarrigle, from Abington, Northampton, pleaded guilty to a charge of opening a vehicle door so as to injure a person.

Stephen Evans was about to go past her vehicle in July last year when he was ‘doored’,  and Northampton Magistrates’ Court heard he suffered a chest injury in the incident, as he was unable to avoid the collision.

McGarrigle did not attend court, according to the Northampton Chronicle, but pleaded guilty to both the dooring charge and one other of holding a driving licence where an alteration to the name had not been notified.

She was ordered to pay a fine of £133 for each offence. She must also pay £35 costs and the victim surcharge of £20.

According to the The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, “No person shall open, or cause or permit to be opened, any door of a vehicle on a road so as to injure or endanger any person.”

Under that law, a collision does not even need to take place for a charge to be brought, but in reality it is very rare for a prosecution to be made successfully.

In May, we reported how Kevin Fallon attempted to sue both the driver and the passenger of a car that doored him in the High Court for £200,000.

Mr Fallon, 48, was on his way to work in 2010 when a door opened on him in Dalston, East London.

Despite wearing a helmet, he suffered bleeding to the brain and says he still suffers headaches, mood changes, and low energy. The injury has also increased his risk of developing epilepsy.

And at the end of last year, we reported the case of a motorist from Surrey who was acquitted of manslaughter at the Old Bailey.

He was alleged to have opened his car door in the path of a cyclist, 25-year-old Sam Harding, without looking, causing him to be killed under the wheels of a bus behind him,

Kenan Aydogdu, aged 32 of Hindhead, Surrey had denied the charge of manslaughter at his trial, in which the prosecution maintained that visibility from the Audi car he had bought a month earlier had been reduced to 17 per cent of what it should have been after he applied tinting film to the windows.

In May this year, Barry Sheerman, MP for Huddersfield, asked the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport Stephen Hammond, how many cyclist casualties were attributable to the opening of a vehicle door in the three years to 2011.

Mr Hammond replied that numbers had increased significantly over the period, from 468 in 2009 to 594 in 2011.

Of those casualties, the serious incidents had risen by 67 per cent.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.