One of the arch enemies of bicyclists in cities is doors, car doors. When the lane for bikers is right next to parallel-parked cars, there’s a serious risk of drivers and passengers opening the car door right at the wrong time and bicyclists crashing into it, even flipping over the top. Perhaps you’ve seen it in movies, but it’s not just something thrown in for extra action — it’s a genuine and major risk in many cities. It’s called “getting doored” from the bicyclist’s end, or “dooring” someone from the other end.
For all the work improving automobile safety with driver-assist features and blind-spot monitors and better crumple zones, not much has been done from the auto OEM side to help with this problem. However, Volkswagen has taken matters into its own hands and is leading the way with a new solution. This new feature is implemented by default in Volkswagen’s new flagship EV, the ID.7, and also in the new Tiguan and Passat. However, the “highest spec version” of the new solution is only in the ID.7.
“The latest generation of the Volkswagen exit warning system helps to avoid dangerous situations when exiting the vehicle in inner-city traffic. The assist system can warn the driver and passengers about road users approaching the parked Volkswagen from behind,” Volkswagen writes. “For example, within system limits, the system can detect cyclists, who are often among the most vulnerable road users. In addition to the driver and front passenger doors, the exit warning system also provides protection for the rear doors.”
Look how sophisticated and cautious the system is in the ID.7: “The exit warning system scans the area behind the Volkswagen via two rear radar sensors (on the left and right in the bumper) and informs the passengers of a danger before a door handle is even operated: if a road user is approaching, an LED light in the exterior mirror automatically lights up as the first warning level. If one of the door openers is nevertheless pressed, the door is also prevented from opening for a short period of time. If the door is opened, a warning signal sounds. Furthermore, the assist system remains active for three minutes after the Volkswagen has been parked and switched off in order to cover all passengers who exit the vehicle.” That’s what I call love. It’s brilliant, and it will protect many humans in cities where the ID.7 is sold.
You can also get the feature in the ID.4 and ID.5, but it’s optional rather than a default feature, and it operates slightly differently. “The exit warning system is optionally available in the ID.4 and ID.5. It operates in almost the same way as in the ID.7. The only exception: in this case, the LED light in the exterior mirror is only activated in case of danger when the passengers operate one of the door handles. The other warning levels — the acoustic signal in the respective door and the electronic opening delay — are identical to those in the ID.7.”