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  1. #1
    vol
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    My strategy to avoid serious accidents from being doored...

    (that is, when riding in the door zone is unavoidable)

    1. Never ride fast (fast=fast enough to result in serious injuries);
    2. When a car door unexpectedly opens before me, stay in my path (even if hitting the door), avoid swerving into the next lane unless there is clearly no risk of being hit by an oncoming vehicle. (Because of the low speed, this means avoiding a more serious or even fatal accident at the cost of relatively minor injuries and bike damage.)

    Opinions/comments?

    Anyway, this may have saved me today from something more serious, when I was riding on the Fifth Avenue (Manhattan) between 37th and 38th streets around 7:45 pm (still rush hour), and a taxi passenger suddenly opened the rear left door in front of the entrance of a building (hotel? 400 5th ave.). I didn't swerve away because it's a congested street with trucks and cars passing on my left very closely. No injury. I just needed to readjust my messed-up derailleur shift and the headlight. Glad I rode slow.

    (Btw I finally saw a Citi bike station near 34th street and Broadway today. One Citi bike's saddle was completely turned in reverse.)

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    3. Aim for the squishy thing.

  3. #3
    vol
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    3. Aim for the squishy thing.
    That's what I'd do. Too bad he was a bit slow in getting out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    That's what I'd do. Too bad he was a bit slow in getting out.
    Timing is everything.

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    Reversing the saddle on a Citi bike is a way of telling following customers that something is wrong with the bike and that they should choose another one. It flags the bike to the mechanics too.

    I first read of the convention in the Paris Velib scheme. I've seen saddles flipped backward here in London too - even though you can press a fault button on the docking bay.

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    On the Hubway up here, I've found that the most common problem with those Alta bikes is that the lever to adjust the seat is too loose. Then you end up sliiiiiiiding down part way through your ride. That could be what the backwards seat is signalling to the mechanics.

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    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    3. Aim for the squishy thing.
    Good luck with that thought, in watching a number of dooring videos, the squishy thing will probably be the cyclist since they tend to get flicked out into the adjacent travel lane.

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    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Take the lane, and stay out of a DZBL.

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    Senior Member degnaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    2. When a car door unexpectedly opens before me, stay in my path (even if hitting the door), avoid swerving into the next lane unless there is clearly no risk of being hit by an oncoming vehicle. (Because of the low speed, this means avoiding a more serious or even fatal accident at the cost of relatively minor injuries and bike damage.)
    I don't know how slow you're talking about, but if you're riding even 10mph, I imagine the door can hinge forwards and fling you into traffic.

    If a bike lane is in the door zone, I either ride on the white line or entirely not in it.

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    Don't ride in the door zone. Problem solved.

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    vol
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    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by degnaw View Post
    I don't know how slow you're talking about, but if you're riding even 10mph, I imagine the door can hinge forwards and fling you into traffic.
    I agree, if the door opens when you are already on its side. But the strategy works if the door opens slightly earlier than that, when it blocks you from the front instead of pushing you with its out-swing. This was the case I encountered yesterday. (Btw my speed was probably like 7 mph--I'm just very watchful in door zones.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
    Don't ride in the door zone. Problem solved.
    This is my approach as well.

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    Senior Member Commodus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    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.



    I agree, if the door opens when you are already on its side. But the strategy works if the door opens slightly earlier than that, when it blocks you from the front instead of pushing you with its out-swing. This was the case I encountered yesterday. (Btw my speed was probably like 7 mph--I'm just very watchful in door zones.)
    In a situation like that, I would rather just split the lanes I think.

  14. #14
    vol
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commodus View Post
    In a situation like that, I would rather just split the lanes I think.
    What exactly do you mean by splitting the lane? Is it the same as sharing the lane with a moving vehicle or passing a parked vehicle within its same lane (=riding in the door zone, as in my case yesterday, so I don't know the difference)?

    I found this thread and the video by member 1nterceptor.

    P.S. On that same day (yesterday) toward the end of my ride I took the lane ever so briefly as necessary on a narrow street to pass a truck that was parked on the side blocking much of the road, and ignored the repeated honking by a driver behind me. After I crossed the street and he made a right turn away from me, he shouted to me: "Don't ride in the middle of the lane!!"
    Last edited by vol; 06-04-13 at 03:50 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    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.
    Evidently you're pretty new to riding in New York City. I have ridden that stretch of fifth avenue, and you should be taking the lane to avoid the door zone, especially in congested rush hour traffic, which is overall moving slower than you anyway.

    As several others have stated, the way to avoid getting doored is to not ride in the door zone. You'll eventually learn this. Hope you don't get seriously injured before that happens.
    My speculation was that it applies to some degree in cycling, and I used the previous proof as my reasoning, but I can't prove how exactly it applies to it and to what degree. That, I have admitted, is speculation based on reasoning, but not at this point provable.

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    Senior Member Commodus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    What exactly do you mean by splitting the lane? Is it the same as sharing the lane with a moving vehicle or passing a parked vehicle within its same lane (=riding in the door zone, as in my case yesterday, so I don't know the difference)?

    I found this thread and the video by member 1nterceptor.

    P.S. On that same day (yesterday) toward the end of my ride I took the lane ever so briefly as necessary on a narrow street to pass a truck that was parked on the side blocking much of the road, and ignored the repeated honking by a driver behind me. After I crossed the street and he made a right turn away from me, he shouted to me: "Don't ride in the middle of the lane!!"
    Lane splitting is moving between two moving lanes of traffic. In other words, you would ride to the left of the right hand lane. It's actually fairly safe, but it takes some steely nerves to pull off confidently. I don't do it, but I don't ride in door zones either...I would lane split before riding in the door zone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    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.



    I agree, if the door opens when you are already on its side. But the strategy works if the door opens slightly earlier than that, when it blocks you from the front instead of pushing you with its out-swing. This was the case I encountered yesterday. (Btw my speed was probably like 7 mph--I'm just very watchful in door zones.)
    Avoiding the door zone is NEVER "not avoidable". If traffic is that heavy, or the local law requires you to ride in the DZBL, pick another street. NOBODY tells me I can't ride where I know it's safer.

    7mph? When I was into jogging (mostly in the Army), that was my jogging speed; thanks, but I'll take a route I can top 13-15.

  18. #18
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    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.
    I don't see it as being 'desirable', or 'undesirable'. I see it as a necessity. I have ridden in PM-Rush traffic numerous times, 'taking the lane' each ride. Because, It keeps me safe. I don't ride in a BL or DZBL because, I don't trust motorists' to, not to be stupid and stray into the bike lane. I know some are going to think I am nuts. But in Maryland, signs were finally posted by the state DOT, telling motorists' that a cyclist may use the full lane.
    Last edited by Chris516; 06-04-13 at 08:03 PM.

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    vol
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    In that congested situation, if you insist on taking the lane, the drivers will not stop at yelling at you. They'll intentionally swipe you or hit you.

  20. #20
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    In that congested situation, if you insist on taking the lane, the drivers will not stop at yelling at you. They'll intentionally swipe you or hit you.
    I could care less, if they yell at me. By 'taking the lane', it gives me some room to move, should they pass extremely close. Instead of them passing extremely close and running me off the road. As a result of hugging the curb.

  21. #21
    vol
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    I could care less, if they yell at me. By 'taking the lane', it gives me some room to move, should they pass extremely close. Instead of them passing extremely close and running me off the road. As a result of hugging the curb.
    I don't care yelling either. Saw my last sentence?

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    The real danger in getting doored, isn't in hitting the door. It's in being dumped on your back in the traffic lane. If the speeds are slow enough you may be able to stop, or at least retain control when you hit the door, and not get dumped.

    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.
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  23. #23
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    I don't care yelling either. Saw my last sentence?
    Yes. Their intentionally swiping me, is why I 'take the lane' before the fact. So if they do, I have some 'elbow room' to react, instead of crashing into a parked car, or the curb. As for a driver trying to intentionally hit me. I can't stop them from hitting me. But I can make my presence obvious enough that someone will see the driver trying to do it.

  24. #24
    Senior Member degnaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    In that congested situation, if you insist on taking the lane, the drivers will not stop at yelling at you. They'll intentionally swipe you or hit you.
    Funny, that's never happened to me.

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    Each driver is entitled to the space he is in and the space directly in front of him. Once you are in the lane, you have no duty to move over to let others pass. If by congested, you mean there's a vehicle in front of you, you have to wait and should not move around it on the right, because that puts you in the door zone. I never ride in the door zone. That's just asking for trouble. I don't worry about being hit from behind. It doesn't generally happen.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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