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  1. #1
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    doored - words of wisdom please

    Hello everyone-Im new to this forum and if Im posting in the wrong place please let me know. I was doored on Thursday morning in Venice California lucky that I only broke my left elbow off (2hrs under the knife, some pins and wires) and some pretty good bruises (typing w one hand now please excuse the errors ? ). Police, emt, all there Im looking for any thoughts, suggestions, experience you can share with me on next steps and dos /donts, many thanks in advance WT

  2. #2
    Virtulized geek MsMittens's Avatar
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    Go a little wider. Generally, I go about the length of a door and assume that every door will open. I also scan like made looking through cars to see if anyone is in the driver's side. In addition, when travelling in heavy congested areas (common in downtown Toronto) I use a whistle (Fox Classic) to warn people that I'm coming from behind them. Works well.

    Sorry to hear about it all. Hopefully recovery will be quick.

  3. #3
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    How do you get that whistle in your mouth and signal quick enough to warn them?

  4. #4
    Virtulized geek MsMittens's Avatar
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    Err.. the whistle leaves my mouth?! When I'm commuting or if I'm entering a high traffic area, I leave the whistle in my mouth. I drink at red lights and that's the only time I remove it (unless on steep hills and I need to suck some air).

  5. #5
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    Cool! I never thought of a whistle. Howm any times/week do you actually use it? What is the driver's response? Long whistle tone or short?

  6. #6
    Virtulized geek MsMittens's Avatar
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    Oh.. given that I teach classes 4 times a week and they start at 8am and finish between 1030 ---> 130pm, at least 4 times a week (I have a sweet job being a prof). I use it about 2-3 times a day, warning both drivers and pedestrians that I'm coming. If it's a "Hey I'm here, pay attention and look at me so I know you see me" kind of thing, two or three quick blasts work. Don't be surprised if they look annoyed. Sometimes drivers aren't aware of why you do this.

    I've also used the quick blasts (2-3) when passes buses (when they stop to pick up passengers and it takes 10-15 min it can be annoying so I will pass them if the lane next to them is clear). When I pass, I give the quick blasts to say "Yo! Don't pull out, I'm passing you".

    If it's an urgent situation, long hard blast (may temp deafen you).

    There are times however that this still won't work. I ended up sliding nearly under a car that decided to make a left while I was oncoming to him. He was a rather elderly gentleman so I figure he might have been hard of hearing.

    The whistle is often used in Toronto I find and IMHO, works better than any "dingy bell" when you deal with buses, dump trucks, tractor trailers, etc. in downtown, rushhour traffic where everyone has a priority and you're just the lowest on the totem pole.

  7. #7
    I can't find my pants mirona's Avatar
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    I was reading through the laws and here in Mass and Conn it's illegal for cyclists to use whistles.

  8. #8
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    Whenever I am riding past a row of parallel parked cars, I am in the middle of the lane that I am using. It tends to aggrivate motorists, but it keeps me safe. To prevent it from happening again, if you are blocked and have to ride close to the cars, watch for people about to leave their car, and look far ahead. Signs include (but aren't limited to) the driver leaning away from the door, taking off the seatbelt, kissing a passenger, looking over their shoulder, etc. I guess given that I ride brakeless a lot of the time, I look harder for these signs. Good luck and a speedy recovery!!

  9. #9
    Virtulized geek MsMittens's Avatar
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    I was reading through the laws and here in Mass and Conn it's illegal for cyclists to use whistles.
    You're kidding!??! How come? In Ontario, AFAIK, it's legal to use a whistle but you must have a bell or other device ON THE BIKE. I have a little dingy bell but rarely use it.

    [edit]

    I did a quick google search. It appears to be primarily a noise by-law issue. That said, I'd rather get a ticket for a noise bylaw infraction than break an elbow (or worse!).

    For reference:

    New Jersey law
    Last edited by MsMittens; 09-26-04 at 03:09 PM.

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    i've been told in Cal. to open a car door in a traffic lane is illegal - and the person who opens the door and causes an accident is at fault. after 45 years of riding i've learned yet another lesson, and do feel lucky to be alive. any thoughts or experience on the legal side of this...... since non of you know me i'll simply say i'm a child of the 60's - peace and flowers - not much on the legal side of life,,,,, the door opening person didn't even ask how i was or indicate any remorse as i lay there, only complained how they were late for a breakfast meeting and didn't understand why the police couldn't do the paperwork in the cafe.

    a whistle is now on my list!

  11. #11
    Virtulized geek MsMittens's Avatar
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    Perhaps a visit to a lawyer might help, especially if they specialize in Cycling Accidents. I know in the back pages of Bicycling Magazine I've seen ads for these kinds of critters but since I've never had an accident (knock on wood) I haven't had to deal with this kind of stuff.

    HTH.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by worldtraveler
    Hello everyone-I’m new to this forum and if I’m posting in the wrong place please let me know. I was doored on Thursday morning – in Venice California – lucky that I only broke my left elbow off (2hrs under the knife, some pins and wires) and some pretty good bruises (typing w one hand now please excuse the errors ? ). Police, emt, all there – I’m looking for any thoughts, suggestions, experience you can share with me on next steps and do’s /don’ts, many thanks in advance – WT
    Pfft the only suggestion that needs to be given is that you need to get rid of your "im going to be in their way" mentality, and take over the entire lane when you're by a long row of parallel parked cars.

    If people get pissed and honk, let them. I'm not going to get doored for some motorists convenience.

  13. #13
    Senior Member collegeskier's Avatar
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    I recently had two incidents with people passing me when I was taking a safe distance from parked cars. Both went by me with less then foot to spare, the first swore at me and told me to get out of the lane, I then paced him to a blinking light and to where their was no oncoming traffic. The second I caught a second later due to traffic pulled up and knocked on her window and told her she needed to give a bicylist more space, she said she was not going to go onto oncoming traffic. I told her that she should have waited didn't like that much and sped off pissed at my for endangering my life. Guess she forgot that there was a brake in her car. I mean I know I have twice as many but I do have to provide all the power to brake.

    EDIT: I am going to be making sure I have the whole lane from now on might I add.

  14. #14
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    I *thought* I was giving enough room for parked cars until ...a bout a month ago, somebody opened a door on me. I had to swing another foot out too avoid hitting the door. No problem, already knew there was no one behind me.

    It's amazing how far-out those doors can actually swing...seems like 4'?
    Last edited by vrkelley; 09-26-04 at 09:12 PM.

  15. #15
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Re: parked cars. I ride far enough away from them that I'll be clear even if they open the door.

    Re: whistles. I use a whistle and it has saved me many times. But it is illegal.

    If I ever get a ticket for my whistle, it'll be very cheap insurance.

    The other alternatives are the "Air Zound" bike horn, or wire up a car horn to your bike, which I've done before. But you'll need a 12V rechargeable battery for that.

    Bells are for pedestrians. The only things motorists can possibly hear is a horn or a whistle (I gave up shouting early on.)
    No worries

  16. #16
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Sorry about the busted elbow. Driver's insurance should at least cover: hospital/medical, time off from work, bike/clothing damage + pain and suffering.
    You have a police report and you MAY need to get a lawyer that specializes in cycling/car accidents.
    Been there, done that!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBigMan

    The other alternatives are the "Air Zound" bike horn, or wire up a car horn to your bike, which I've done before. But you'll need a 12V rechargeable battery for that.

    Bells are for pedestrians. The only things motorists can possibly hear is a horn or a whistle (I gave up shouting early on.)
    ROFL and that's no slacker horn Petet's got! With that fog-horn of yours, cars had better 'look out'!
    RE Whistle, I'd be afraid of cracking a tooth holding on to it while going over a pot-hole or worse yet swallowing it!

  18. #18
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by worldtraveler
    i've been told in Cal. to open a car door in a traffic lane is illegal - and the person who opens the door and causes an accident is at fault. after 45 years of riding i've learned yet another lesson, and do feel lucky to be alive. any thoughts or experience on the legal side of this...... since non of you know me i'll simply say i'm a child of the 60's - peace and flowers - not much on the legal side of life,,,,, the door opening person didn't even ask how i was or indicate any remorse as i lay there, only complained how they were late for a breakfast meeting and didn't understand why the police couldn't do the paperwork in the cafe.
    The legal issues won't help your elbow to heal any faster. Just put this one down as a lesson learned -- you need to ride far enough away from opening car doors so that they can't be a threat to you -- even if they open it deliberately. Don't take that last point so lightly, I had to avoid someone who deliberately opened a car door at me yesterday (and they weren't even parked). This was 218km into the ride.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris L
    I had to avoid someone who deliberately opened a car door at me yesterday (and they weren't even parked). This was 218km into the ride.
    "218km into the ride". Good point. When you're tired, you're less alert and more likely to miss a 'vehicle blooper'. Stay alert. Stop, rest, drink, and eat if you feel you're starting to zone out.

    For longer rides, it takes time to learn to hold that concentration.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    When you obtain your copy of the police report, or your auto insurance company does, find out if a ticket was issued for the infraction. The driver violated California Motor Vehicle Code, Division 11, Chapter 9, Section 22517. If you need to use your own insurance company, do it. They will go after the other driver's insurance.
    As the other folks here said; Stay out of the "Door Zone".
    I hope your arm heals quickly.

  21. #21
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vrkelley
    For longer rides, it takes time to learn to hold that concentration.
    ... or one incident. I couldn't believe this guy, he didn't even bother to park -- he just stopped dead right in the middle of the lane! It's times like this when I wish there was a big spanky truck with a massive bullbar following me. I would have been very happy to move over and give the truck free passage on that occasion.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  22. #22
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    I was nearly doored the other day; I saw that it was about to happen as he reached for the handle and managed to swerve around him, NOT hit the car to my left, and avoid it. In all of my grace and class, I screamed some pretty choice expletives as I swerved (it scared the freaking crap out of me).

    I was so rattled I didn't even get a chance to go back and ask him to please watch his mirrors when he's opening his door. I tend to do that when people open their door into traffic even if I am nowhere near hitting them or getting hit by them, just to get the word out.

  23. #23
    Virtulized geek MsMittens's Avatar
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    I had one of those Air Horns on my Cannondale (before the bike got stolen -- *SOB*). Anyways, the button used to announce the horn eventually wore out. It was, in 1996, not a bad idea but wasn't considered for downtown annoyances and such.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Seanholio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsMittens
    I had one of those Air Horns on my Cannondale (before the bike got stolen -- *SOB*). Anyways, the button used to announce the horn eventually wore out. It was, in 1996, not a bad idea but wasn't considered for downtown annoyances and such.
    THe AirZound II is much better than the older horns. This one runs on compressed air, and is filled via a schraeder valve on top, so you can fill it using your pump. It also has a volume control on it, allowing you to select anything between "mildly corrects pedestrians in a quiet environment" to "penetrates even a Lexus at a rock concert"

    I personally love mine, and don't want to ride without it.

  25. #25
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Although a loud horn is certainly a good idea, I question whether there would be time to 'deploy' it in the fraction of a second it takes to get doored. A couple of thoughts:

    As other posters have stated, always ride outside the 'door zone' when parked cars are present - that usually means a minimum of 3 to 4 feet from parked cars; take the lane if you have to. You used to be able to see into cars and trucks and visually ID motorists that might be getting ready to open their door in your path. These days, with tinted windows and higher seatbacks, this visual method is much harder to rely on.

    Also, as others have stated, generally it is illegal for a motorist to open a door into traffic without checking first, and they would indeed be at fault for dooring you. Only works if you got the motorist's license # and insurance policy #. Best if a police officer is called to the scene and files an accident report - even better if the officer knows the law and cites the motorist. Having a lawyer or your own insurance company advocating for you will ensure best results and save you from a lot of frustration dealing with the motorist's insurance company on your own.

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