Cyclists are more likely to be hit by a door opening from a parked car than hit from behind by a moving vehicle, according to one Ottawa cycling safety expert.
The concerns over bike safety were reignited after a cyclist died after being struck along Queen Street Tuesday morning in downtown Ottawa.
The woman, believed to be in her 30s, was "doored" while traveling between Metcalfe and O'Connor streets. Doored is a term cyclists use when one is hit by a driver who is opening the door of a parked car.
When the woman was hit, she lost her balance and crashed to her left into the path of a following Volkswagen sedan, witnesses said. She became trapped between the front and rear wheels.
Paramedics transported her to hospital but she was later pronounced dead.
Parked cars more dangerous than moving cars, expert says
Many cyclists fear moving too far into a lane of vehicles, according to a local safety expert, but as long as you don't suddenly swing into traffic, it is safer to move closer to moving traffic and away from parked cars.
"You can position yourself in the lane a bit so that you avoid doors as much as you can, but, I mean, you can be as good as you want and sometimes accidents happen, too," said Michael Powell, chairman of the city's roads and cycling advisory committee.
According to Ontario's Highway Traffic Act, people must make sure they will not endanger another person or vehicle, including cyclists, before opening a car door on a roadway.
Ghost bike memorial laid in honour of cyclist
A ghost bike spray-painted white now sits along Queen Street in downtown Ottawa where a cyclist was killed.
Mourners also continued to lay flowers Wednesday around a nearby fire hydrant. Ghost bikes are small memorials for cyclists who are killed or hit on the street.
In all cases, a bicycle is painted white and locked to a street sign near the crash site and a small plaque usually accompanies it.
Ottawa police continues to investigate.