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-   -   My strategy to avoid serious accidents from being doored... (http://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-safety/893599-my-strategy-avoid-serious-accidents-being-doored.html)

vol 06-04-13 10:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FBinNY (Post 15705799)
But a very common dooring scenario isn't to put the front end into the door, but to hit a glancing blow, snagging the car-side handlebar, which turns the bike toward the car, and dumps you away, or directly into the path of the traffic in the adjacent lane.

Thanks. Will definitely keep that in mind.

Quote:

Originally Posted by degnaw (Post 15705867)
Funny, that's never happened to me.

Not so rare in NYC.:notamused:

Quote:

Originally Posted by noglider (Post 15705883)
If by congested, you mean there's a vehicle in front of you,

By congested I mean there were vehicles everywhere, little space among them.
(Evening rush hour drivers are also highly impatient.)

noglider 06-05-13 06:15 AM

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.

vol 06-05-13 08:03 AM

When I say they were impatient I imply they would become aggressive and swipe you.

Commodus 06-05-13 08:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vol (Post 15707042)
When I say they were impatient I imply they would become aggressive and swipe you.

You're making a common rookie mistake, and assuming that getting out of the way of drivers is safer. It isn't. They won't hit you, and taking the lane will be much safer than riding in the door zone. You will learn this for yourself in time. Good luck in the meantime.

noglider 06-05-13 09:18 AM

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.

sauerwald 06-05-13 03:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vol (Post 15704118)
I made clear the premise is when door zone is not avoidable.

Taking the lane is not always possible or desirable. The situation I was in yesterday was such an example. It was a very congested street, with no room for a bike to take the lane. Even some vehicles were going between lanes. A very hectic scene that I'll try to avoid in future.

Taking the lane is always an option. If the lane is wide enough for a car, it is plenty wide enough to avoid the door zone. It may frustrate motorists who want to go faster than you, but your safety is more important than their impatience.

vol 06-05-13 05:54 PM

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.

FBinNY 06-05-13 06:28 PM

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.

vol 06-05-13 10:19 PM

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)?

FBinNY 06-05-13 10:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vol (Post 15710276)
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)?

First of all, I said one way streets, though maybe I should have said Avenues.

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).

vol 06-05-13 10:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FBinNY (Post 15710296)
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 is something I rarely think about and need to keep reminding myself of. I don't drive, so am not used to thinking from the drivers' point of view. Thanks for pointing this out (and for your entire posts).

buzzman 06-05-13 11:18 PM

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.

FBinNY 06-05-13 11:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vol (Post 15710333)
This is something I rarely think about and need to keep reminding myself of. I don't drive, so am not used to thinking from the drivers' point of view. ...

The reason cars all over the world have the driver sitting toward the center of the road (left in most countries, RH in the UK and a few others) is to reduce the number of head on collisions on 2 way streets. It's assumed that drivers gauge distance better to the short side, so if it's good enough for the drivers, it's good enough for cyclists.

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).

vol 06-06-13 12:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buzzman (Post 15710371)
Turned out it was a hitch hiker, who had been freaked by the driver and hurriedly jumped out at the light.

:twitchy: Wonder what caused the freaking! Glad you survived that accident!

Quote:

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.
Very true.

FBinNY, thanks for elaborating the driver issue.

Chris516 06-06-13 12:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FBinNY (Post 15710380)
The reason cars all over the world have the driver sitting toward the center of the road (left in most countries, RH in the UK and a few others) is to reduce the number of head on collisions on 2 way streets. It's assumed that drivers gauge distance better to the short side, so if it's good enough for the drivers, it's good enough for cyclists.

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).

While what you said does make sense, regarding the possibility of head-on collision. The concern for the center of the road, is equated by a lack of concern for anything on the right side of the vehicle.

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.


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