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Old 09-26-12, 04:22 PM   #1
jlstrat
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slammed into a car door

I was riding down a city street here, on the way home, when a woman threw open her car door. I was moving pretty fast, and I swerved enough to take the edge of the door on my right side. I was thrown from the bike into the street. I got up and moved everything--me and the bike--to the sidewalk. I hurt a good bit, I don't mind telling you. I don't think my attention flagged. Who knows? Maybe I'm old and slow to react. I'm just lucky that when I hit the street no one ran over me. I came back later because something fell off my bike. She was still there and her door wouldn't close. I felt bad, but then I thought that if I went to the ER, she'd have to pick up the bill (or her insurance would) so maybe it was a break even. My wife insists it was the driver's fault, but to me it was a lesson that I should find a less traveled street. Spent the day icing down my shoulder, chest, and back.
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Old 09-26-12, 04:27 PM   #2
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Glad you weren't hurt badly. This was her fault, not yours, no reason to feel bad on your part. She didn't pay attention and doored you.

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Old 09-26-12, 04:28 PM   #3
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So Happy you didn't get run over.

So you learned the hard way to Stay Out of The Door Zone.
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Old 09-26-12, 04:30 PM   #4
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Yes, count it both as a lesson and blessing. Always slow down and keep a sharp eye on cars parked to your right.....always. I purposefully try to avoid these venues but sometimes it can't be helped. So I slow down and look hard at the cars, especially looking to see if there is the profile of a head above the steering wheel. Often I just ride in the middle of the lane because on these city streets you can pedal as fast as cars are generally allowed to go. This provides needed clearance.
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Old 09-26-12, 04:51 PM   #5
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Don't learn the wrong lesson. It's not that you can't ride on streets where cars are parked, it's that you should NEVER ride in the door zone. The door zone is a known hazard zone that no competent cyclist would ever find themselves in.

On a related note, I did meet a college student a few years ago who decided to live car-free as the result of a door incident. Like many poorly-trained American motorists, she opened her car door without first looking to see if anyone was coming. Unlike most folks, she pushed the door open by giving it a mighty kick. She looked on in surprise as the truck that was going past her took her car door with it. Since she couldn't afford to replace the door, she gave up on driving. She was in her second car-free year when I met her and was quite pleased with the freedom she was experiencing by not being tied to her car.
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Old 09-26-12, 05:23 PM   #6
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If you don't ride in the door zone, where do you ride? Can't ride in the street.
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Old 09-26-12, 06:02 PM   #7
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The door zone requires you to take the lane if you value your life. It used to be that you could usually see drivers in their cars, but now with the popularity of window tinting, not so much.

Glad you are in one piece. Last time I got doored was in my teens. I knocked the door of a 65 Ford Galaxie completely off it's hinges, and the owner screamed at me that he was going to sue, demanded my name and address and refused to give me his. I never heard from him again. I guess his lawyer knew the motor code.
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Old 09-26-12, 06:29 PM   #8
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The only real problem I see here is that someone opened a door in front of you without looking and for some stupid reason .... you feel responsible! That woman should thank her lucky stars you weren't driving a cement truck!
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Old 09-26-12, 07:16 PM   #9
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My little urb has lots of fairly narrow roads, many with little clearance between cars and traffic. Since I am usually commuting to/from work and not in a hurry, I avoid these like the plague. Glad you were not hurt too much.
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Old 09-26-12, 07:25 PM   #10
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If you don't ride in the door zone, where do you ride? Can't ride in the street.
???
I hope that is just humor, but I fear you are serious.
When you are on a bike, you have all the rights and responsibilities of other vehicle operators. Yes, that means you ride in the street. In most states, you are required to ride as far to the right as is safe and practicable. The door zone is neither safe nor practicable, so you are not supposed to ride in it, ever. If the lane is not wide enough for you to stay out of the door zone and still share the lane with a motorist, then you don't share that lane, you take it like you own it (which you do).
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Old 09-26-12, 07:26 PM   #11
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I see this just happened. What you feel now will be nowhere near how bad you feel in the next couple of days. You may, at least, want to go see your doctor for a look and maybe some meds, just in case it gets too bad.
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Old 09-26-12, 07:33 PM   #12
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Depending on state or local laws, the woman may have been fully responsible. (Wasn't the fault of the cyclist)
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Old 09-26-12, 09:58 PM   #13
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Just glad you're OK.
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Old 09-26-12, 10:00 PM   #14
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Just glad you're OK.
+1
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Old 09-26-12, 10:29 PM   #15
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Sorry to sound harsh, but although she is legally liable, but you could have prevented the incident by positioning yourself properly on the roadway. Opening doors are only one hazard -- the other is motorists pulling abruptly out of parking places or emerging from driveways, alleys, and side streets. Get out where you are visible. If the lane is less than about 20 feet wide (14 or 15 feet will suffice if there are no parked cars), claim it by riding right down the center or perhaps between the centerline and the right tire track, but never within 3, preferably 5, feet of the widest of the parked cars.
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Old 09-26-12, 10:45 PM   #16
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Sorry to sound harsh, but although she is legally liable, but you could have prevented the incident by positioning yourself properly on the roadway. Opening doors are only one hazard -- the other is motorists pulling abruptly out of parking places or emerging from driveways, alleys, and side streets. Get out where you are visible. If the lane is less than about 20 feet wide (14 or 15 feet will suffice if there are no parked cars), claim it by riding right down the center or perhaps between the centerline and the right tire track, but never within 3, preferably 5, feet of the widest of the parked cars.
+1. And a glad you're ok.
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Old 09-27-12, 12:43 AM   #17
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Wow! Glad your ok. Thanks for posting--reminded me of the hazard. Hope you're not too sore a day or two after.
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Old 09-27-12, 01:02 AM   #18
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Her fault!! not yours. she opened her door without looking to see if it was safe (you could have been on a motorcycle). her insurance should pay for a medical check up and damages.
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Old 09-27-12, 04:01 AM   #19
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Whatever laws apply, riding in a way that lets you stay clear of open car doors puts you in traffic. That angers people. I've been yelled at when I'm on the shoulder. This is a city street at quitting time, so I'll just look for another route home.
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Old 09-27-12, 04:30 AM   #20
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Whatever laws apply, riding in a way that lets you stay clear of open car doors puts you in traffic. That angers people. I've been yelled at when I'm on the shoulder. This is a city street at quitting time, so I'll just look for another route home.
Yes, it's called cycling amenity. How you feel in any given situation.

You sound like someone who prefers a high cycling amenity, and choosing an alternative route to ride is a good idea.

There are cyclists who can ride in areas of low cycling amenity and aren't afraid to take the lane, and can handle the aggression handed out by others, including fast, close passing and the horn-blowing. Generally, they have ridden for a long, long time, have a well-tuned eye for bailing out, and know what to look for. Bailing out sometimes does indeed mean choosing another route, or getting off the bike.

One of the bits of advice that is emerging with BFs is to not provide too much detail in a thread on the incident and how you feel afterwards.

If something untoward does happen as a result of this accident and you need medical intervention, and assuming you got the name and address and insurer of the car owner/driver (you did get all that, didn't you?), you might need to seek restitution.

And if lawyers get involved, and after reading the info on this thread, you might not have much recourse.
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Old 09-27-12, 05:36 AM   #21
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Glad the injuries weren't too bad.
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Old 09-27-12, 06:30 AM   #22
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[QUOTE=Rowan;14779365]Yes, it's called cycling amenity. How you feel in any given situation.

You sound like someone who prefers a high cycling amenity, and choosing an alternative route to ride is a good idea.

There are cyclists who can ride in areas of low cycling amenity and aren't afraid to take the lane, and can handle the aggression handed out by others, including fast, close passing and the horn-blowing. Generally, they have ridden for a long, long time, have a well-tuned eye for bailing out, and know what to look for. Bailing out sometimes does indeed mean choosing another route, or getting off the bike.

This is an interesting topic because I ride every day on a busy road with little or no shoulder. Some drivers give me a lot of space but some come close. There are tractor trailers and buses that don't have much room and it is a bit unnerving when they pass. You are basically trusting the driver coming from behind you since you can't see them and with many distracted by cellphones etc. your fate is in their hands. However, I see serious riders everyday on this route and there seems to be a familiar relationship between drivers and bike riders. Realizing that the law is on your side doesn't necessarily mean that you are safe. Indeed there are some drivers out there that are either ignorant or don't agree that they should share the road with bicycles. Those are the ones I fear.
A few days ago one driver came very close and as he passed I realized that he was playing with his girlfriend from the passenger side of the car while holding onto the steering wheel. Amazing.
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Old 09-27-12, 07:04 AM   #23
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Depending on state or local laws, the woman may have been fully responsible.
Yep, and there are jurisdictions where the law/ordinance holds that a vehicle that's not moving can't cause an accident. In those jurisdictions, the moving vehicle (in this case, the bicycle & cyclist) would be found at fault.
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Old 09-27-12, 07:41 AM   #24
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???
I hope that is just humor, but I fear you are serious.
When you are on a bike, you have all the rights and responsibilities of other vehicle operators. Yes, that means you ride in the street. In most states, you are required to ride as far to the right as is safe and practicable. The door zone is neither safe nor practicable, so you are not supposed to ride in it, ever. If the lane is not wide enough for you to stay out of the door zone and still share the lane with a motorist, then you don't share that lane, you take it like you own it (which you do).
Obviously you THINK you're right. That doesn't make it fact. I don't know what the exact legal requirements are where you are, but in Quebec a bicycle is required by law to ride as far right on the lane as possible. Within three feet from the curb to be precise. That the requirement isn't commonly followed or enforced doesn't make it legal.
Here's a link to the LEGAL requirements (and fines) in THIS province.
http://www.saaq.gouv.qc.ca/publicati...fe_cycling.pdf
Maybe you could look up, read and post whats actually legal in YOUR area?

Bicycles AREN'T motor vechicles, and although they are permitted on most streets - aren't legally allowed on most highways, and have rights and responsibilities many of which are DIFFERENT than motor vehicles. If you really want to win a lawsuit in the event of an accident - you need to know what they are.

Last edited by Burton; 09-27-12 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 09-27-12, 08:04 AM   #25
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Obviously you THINK you're right. That doesn't make it fact. I don't know what the exact legal requirements are where you are, but in Quebec a bicycle is required by law to ride as far right on the lane as possible. Within three feet from the curb to be precise. That the requirement isn't commonly followed or enforced doesn't make it legal.
Here's a link to the LEGAL requirements (and fines) in THIS province.
http://www.saaq.gouv.qc.ca/publicati...fe_cycling.pdf
Maybe you could look up, read and post whats actually legal in YOUR area?

Bicycles AREN'T motor vechicles, and although they are permitted on most streets - aren't legally allowed on most highways, and have rights and responsibilities many of which are DIFFERENT than motor vehicles. If you really want to win a lawsuit in the event of an accident - you need to know what they are.
But in many, if not most jurisdictions, they are defined as a vehicle that falls under the road regulations and laws.

The key word in your assertions about riding as close to the right hand side is "possible". The preponderance of people opening car doors into the street makes riding impractical or not possible.

In Australia, the liability for dooring a cyclist is very specific in the road laws, and the person who opens the door is liable.
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