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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 03-07-07, 09:51 AM   #1
rsleegers
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Door prize

My wife convinced me to stay home today after winning a "door prize" yesterday morning on the way into work (that didn't take much).

Yesterday morning I was almost finished my commue to work when a driver opened his door about 1/4 second before I ran into it. I was clipping along pretty well and the road was bare and dry at that point. (There are some icy and snow covered sections in my region). I remember not wanting to go wide because there were parked cars on both sides of the road and not enough room on the opposite side for a car to pass without going over the center line.

I actually don't recall seeing the door open but I remember hearing me curse as I was going down! The driver was very apologetic and tried to make sure I was okay. (A nice change). He kept saying how he "always looks" before opening his door. Truth be told, I was a bit ticked at myself for being complacent. I too usually try to keep an eye out for doors and have had some near misses, but this is my first in years of commuting.

Except for my back I didn't feel any immediate effects so I wasn't overly concerned - it wasn't my first fall this winter, but it's my first where I wasn't able to slow it down. One saving grace is the I didn't have too much time to react so I didn't try to break the fall with my wrists. As a software developer that could be a problem.

It wasn't until I got home after work that I really checked myself out and found bruising on my shoulder, and really felt the impact areas - right shoulder (probably from the door), and a bit on the wrist, and left shoulder and elbow from hitting the ground. The right ankle and foot are a bit sore as well. No facial or head injuries, I was wearing goggles and my helmet, I don't know if they impacted. My right grip is offset and the handlebars twisted a bit, but that can be fixed. The bike is a winter beater so I'm not too worried.

No, I'm not going to sue they guy or anything, I decided that even before I saw his disabled vehicle pass. I was a bit concerned at first for his door because it wouldn't close properly at first (heh heh). I wasn't too proud to at least let him pay for a new mirror. In the end I removed my glove and ... offered him a handshake, of course - he seemed more shook up than me.

Thanks for listening - I'm actually a bit giddy from the sore spots (as long as I'm not moving my back), but I think that's just the endorphins kicking in. All the layers of winter padding probably helped spread the pain around. The kicker is that I was on the "on-street bike route" at the time - our city doesn't have many dedicated bike paths yet, and the river path is impassable until the spring.

Richard
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Old 03-07-07, 10:39 AM   #2
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Ouch dude, good to hear that it sounds like just some bruising. Hope you got his info just incase it ends being a bit worse.

About him being more shook up, that seems to be my experiences also when I crash due to someone else's error.
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Old 03-07-07, 10:55 AM   #3
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oooh, getting doored can get ugly. Glad you're okay. It seems a pretty normal response on the part of cyclists to get up and put it behind us after a fall or a collision with a car. I've even seen it with motorcyclists, too. Maybe it's the embarassment factor or the "denial is my strongest coping mechanism" factor- the sense of "that didn't just happen did it?" or the "I don't want to make a big deal out of this."

But this is all the more reason why we should always get the license number and information from the driver. Often it's not until the next day, or later, that an injury may present itself. And you've missed a day of work- no small thing to your employer, your clients, your customers etc... I don't know if we're being all that fair to ourselves and to people in general when we let a driver like this so easily off the hook. Though avoiding the "door zone" and watching for opening doors is part of the cyclist's strategy the major responsibility in this incident falls on the guy opening the door. It's why we pay a fortune every year for auto insurance if we own a car.

It was an accident but one that physically injured you, one that cost you work, damaged your property (your bike) and caused your wife some anxiety. I'm not suggesting you sue the guy or that you be a selfish jerk about it but at the same time you have to place some value on what happened to you and how it impacts the people around you. I hope this guy pays your good will forward or something because you sure let him off easy. He was right to be super apologetic but I'm sure that was as much to protect himself as it was too ensure your well being. I hope you got insurance info etc in case you have any lingering injuries from this event.
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Old 03-07-07, 11:47 AM   #4
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glad you're okay without too much damage.
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Old 03-07-07, 11:52 AM   #5
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Hope you recover quickly and fully.

Note to self: Don't ride in the door zone, don't ride in the door zone, don't ride in the door zone. Now if I can just remember.
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Old 03-07-07, 12:51 PM   #6
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Glad you're okay.

This line in your post caught my eye:
Quote:
I remember not wanting to go wide because there were parked cars on both sides of the road and not enough room on the opposite side for a car to pass without going over the center line.
It seems to me that this is a common feeling among inexperienced riders. Ooh, I must stay as far right as possible so I don't "force" a car to go into the oncoming lane. And what you've done is endanger yourself rather than possibly inconvenience an overtaking driver for a few seconds.

A valuable lesson to be learned here. I'm glad you've only got a few scrapes and you're not dead. Keep riding!
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Old 03-07-07, 02:04 PM   #7
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"The sound of a door opening in front of you is similar to the sound of a gun being cocked" - someones sig on another message board.

Scary. I nearly got doored today but I was out far enough and had enough time to slow/swerve. I heard the lady go "ohhhh!" It was funny, she sounded pretty startled.
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Old 03-07-07, 03:50 PM   #8
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Recovering

Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzman
Often it's not until the next day, or later, that an injury may present itself. And you've missed a day of work- no small thing to your employer, your clients, your customers etc...
...
I'm not suggesting you sue the guy or that you be a selfish jerk about it but at the same time you have to place some value on what happened to you and how it impacts the people around you. I hope this guy pays your good will forward or something because you sure let him off easy.
You're right that I probably let him off too easy and didn't think about possible residual injuries, for all the reasons you gave, even if nothing came of it. Maybe I was paying it forward a bit as I was at fault for a car accident once (don't assume the way is clear just because one lane of traffic lets you turn!) But I'll try to overcome the shock and think of the bigger picture next time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seriouslysilly
glad you're okay without too much damage.
Thanks - I think I also wanted an excuse - I rarely take sick days, and I've dragged myself into work after worse self-inflicted injuries...

Quote:
Originally Posted by caloso
It seems to me that this is a common feeling among inexperienced riders. Ooh, I must stay as far right as possible so I don't "force" a car to go into the oncoming lane. And what you've done is endanger yourself rather than possibly inconvenience an overtaking driver for a few seconds....A valuable lesson to be learned here. I'm glad you've only got a few scrapes and you're not dead. Keep riding!
It is a bit of a hard-earned lesson, and I will certainly keep riding, just smarter. I should correct your line of thinking however - I was more concerned about traffic coming towards me that did not have enough room in their lane due to the parking/couriers. A head-on collision with a moving car was more my concern than parked cars. I generally take enough of my lane so cars must change lanes to overtake, if they're honking at me, them I know I'm in the right spot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Midnight Cyril
Hope you recover quickly and fully.

Note to self: Don't ride in the door zone, don't ride in the door zone, don't ride in the door zone.
A good mantra.


Thanks, everyone, for the sympathy and advice.
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