(Evening rush hour drivers are also highly impatient.)
(Evening rush hour drivers are also highly impatient.)
Impatience on their part doesn't require you to move over for them. I've ridden a lot in Manhattan since 1975. Never been doored, because I ride outside the door zone. I never feel the need to ride inside it. Never been hit from behind.
When I say they were impatient I imply they would become aggressive and swipe you.
vol, I agree with Commodus. Some might swipe you, but there's nothing you can do to prevent that. Riding in the door zone won't do it. I've had drivers drive so close that it felt as if they brushed the hair on my left arm, but that's probably my nerves talking. Never been brushed so hard that it exerted force.
Thanks all for your input and advice. I got everyone's point about avoiding the door zone and taking the lane. I realize part of the reasons that I hesitate to take the lane is because I ride relatively slow, so taking the lane will block the vehicles. But I agree in that congested situation when vehicles are also slow, taking the lane will work for me.
One thing I forgot to mention. On one way streets in NYC bicycles should keep left.
Keep right is the law in NY state, but NYC is an exception. By keeping left, you stay clear of the busses, and door zone risks are reduced because while every car has a driver, a large percentage have no passengers, so fewer doors will ever be opened into the door zone on the left side of the street.
If it's a wide one-way street/avenue (e.g. Third Avenue, Manhattan), don't drivers expect bikes more likely on the rightmost lane than one the leftmost lane, especially when there is a median between the two opposite one-way sides of the street/avenue (such as Park Avenue and some parts of the Broadway in Manhattan)?
In any case my advice applies to both, but is most specifically about the avenues. NYC used to have signs saying "bicycles keep left" on all the one way avenues. (I don't know if they still do).
It isn't so much where drivers expect bicycles, since NYC traffic is so unruly that drivers have learned to expect anything anyplace. But besides no busses, and fewer opening doors on the passenger side, riding on the left puts you closer to the driver who has better sight lines, and is better able to gauge the separation (width of his car) on his close side than far side.
This doesn't apply to Park Ave, which is a two way street, although divided, except as you approach a left turn.
Probably the most important skill for riding in high traffic places such as NYC is the ability to hold a line. Riders who can hold a straight line consistently are more predictable to drivers and use less road than riders with less control. IMO the key to riding in NYC traffic is good bike handling skills, such as being able to look over your shoulder without veering, and confidence. One nice thing about NY is that we probably have the narrowest speed difference between cars and bikes (except that many cyclists are faster).
In NYC and many congested areas a "door zone" can be just about anywhere on the road.
The one time I was doored was when I was taking the lane and a car stopped in the far left lane, in this case reserved for vehicles turning left, swung open the door on the passenger side of the vehicle nailing me hard in the left thigh as I passed in the middle lane at around 20+ mph. I was sent careening across another lane, hit the curb went over the handlebars and somersaulted onto a fire hydrant- it hurt.
Turned out it was a hitch hiker, who had been freaked by the driver and hurriedly jumped out at the light. I never was able to file for any claims for my injuries and damaged frame because the guy took off like a shot. But I learned a hard lesson- any time you are in the proximity of a car the door can fly open. It is one of a dozen things to be constantly on the look out for as you ride in traffic.
Even though you don't drive, you have to think like the drivers around you. Whether I'd driving or cycling, I'm mentally driving the cars near me, anticipating who might move right or left based on a car stopped up the road, or who might be planning a right turn into my path. It isn't unusual for me to yell at a passing car as we approach the corner together "don't turn right" some even answer "I wasn't planning to".
Eye contact also helps. Years ago many tractor trailers would have "if you can't see me (with a picture of a face), I can't see you" painted on the back to remind following cars of blind spots. The same applies riding on city streets. If you don't see the driver in a mirror, odds are he doesn't know you're there.
Also watch for folks hailing taxis on your side of the street, since that could mean that a taxi will swerve across in front of you and stop (not fun).
any time you are in the proximity of a car the door can fly open. It is one of a dozen things to be constantly on the look out for as you ride in traffic.
FBinNY, thanks for elaborating the driver issue.
As for thinking about the motorists' around me, that is why I 'take the lane'. So the motorist will see me in front of them, instead of having to worry about how closely they are passing pursuant to the state law. I also make a point to 'anticipate', what a motorist will do. As for the motorists' who 'enter the kingdom of hookdom', I look at the movement of the vehicle, along with seeing if they are using their turn signals. Today on my ride at one point, I was on a six-lane road(concrete divider in the middle), and I was approaching a traffic light that had a four-lane road crossing it with an entrance ramp on to the interstate. The road I was on had a turn lane on my right, where motorists' didn't have to wait for a light to change to turn on to the other road. I was waiting for some motorist to suddenly come from the lane on my left, cut in front of me, and go into the turn lane. Thankfully, That never happened. I did move from the center of my lane, to the left tire track, in anticipation of a motorist potentially thinking they could cut me off.
On eye contact, I utilize that, too. I will shake my head 'not while staring at a motorist who is about to turn into the lane I am in. If I hear a motorist behind and feel there is an opening for them to make a safe pass, I will shake my head 'yes'. But I sometimes wonder if the motorists' behind me understand what I mean. In terms of 18-wheelers, they are supposed to have those wide mirrors that enable them to see behind the trailer of their truck.