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Virginia Legislature Considers DOORING Bill

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Virginia Legislature Considers DOORING Bill

Old 02-17-16, 07:39 AM
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RoadHolland
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Virginia Legislature Considers DOORING Bill

SB117, the dooring bill, would make it illegal for a driver to open a car door into the path of a cyclist. Currently there is no law governing this in Virginia. Lack of a ticketable infraction can make it harder for dooring victims to get compensation from insurance or other claims for their injuries. SB117 would change that.

Live in Virginia and want your representative to support this measure? Find Your Legislator HERE.

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Old 02-17-16, 08:18 AM
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Isn't there some very general 'careless' charge that a clever/imaginative cop can use at the moment?
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Old 02-17-16, 08:26 AM
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When in regards to opening a vehicle's door, our state has had a vehicle code on the books for decades. My father watched two motorists, in the 1950's, receive tickets for opening their vehicle's traffic side door in an unsafe manner, and causing another vehicle to strike it.
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Old 02-17-16, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by JonnyHK View Post
Isn't there some very general 'careless' charge that a clever/imaginative cop can use at the moment?
Jonny,

Really, you expect a cop, a group that sadly, all too often has shown that when it comes to a car v bicycle crash that because the victim was on a bike that they were somehow at fault, cause "hey we all know how you bikers are." Don't believe me check out the link that Genec provided in another thread.
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Old 02-17-16, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
When in regards to opening a vehicle's door, our state has had a vehicle code on the books for decades. My father watched two motorists, in the 1950's, receive tickets for opening their vehicle's traffic side door in an unsafe manner, and causing another vehicle to strike it.
DD,

The sad thing is that while when one car hits the door of another car that the first car will usually rip the second cars door right off of the hings, but a bicycle slamming into an open car door isn't. Although hopefully if there is any justice in the world the cyclist will have pinned the dumbarse to their door in some manner.
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Old 02-17-16, 10:24 AM
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Yes Johnny, glean the internet for a few isolated examples that will reinforce you personal stereotypes so you can have a persecution complex too.
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Old 02-17-16, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by RoadHolland View Post
SB117, the dooring bill, would make it illegal for a driver to open a car door into the path of a cyclist. Currently there is no law governing this in Virginia. Lack of a ticketable infraction can make it harder for dooring victims to get compensation from insurance or other claims for their injuries. SB117 would change that.

Live in Virginia and want your representative to support this measure? Find Your Legislator HERE.

i have always been of the belief that it is the responsibility of the driver of the parallel-parked car to ensure that there is no oncoming vehicle (including a cyclist) prior to opening the drivers door into the path of said vehicle (the "door-zone"). thus, any collision would be the fault of the parked-car driver. given this, it would seem that there should be no legislation necessary for this scenario.

of course, as a cyclist, this scenario is completely predictable and avoidable.
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Old 02-17-16, 11:13 AM
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Well, welcome to 1956 - which is when the Uniform Vehicle Code (Section 11-1005) first addressed dooring. How is this even controversial in the great Commonwealth of Virginia?

FWIW, the word "bicycle" does not appear in this bill.

(From experience - the bill has passed the Senate and is now headed to the House Transportation Committee - where bills are 86'd, year, after year, after year, after year.... Why would you expect a different result this year?)

-mr. bill
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Old 02-17-16, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by JonnyHK View Post
Isn't there some very general 'careless' charge that a clever/imaginative cop can use at the moment?
Maybe/Maybe not. But there is also the politics of a given police department, as to the importance a department places on what happens to a cyclist. Even before the 'imaginative' officer can be smart enough.

In suburban Virginia, just south of DC, there is:

1. State-Virginia State Police
2. County-Arlington, Fairfax Fauqier, Spotsylvania
3. City-Arlington, Fairfax, Manassas, Manassas Park

Each with their own policies on whether to enforce this.

A perfect(while indirect) example of a dooring incident. Was in the 1977 movie 'Smokey and The Bandit'. At one point, country singer Roy Rogers makes a cameo appearance in the movie. Where he is driving an 18-wheeler, that rips off the driver-side door of the patrol car of Sheriff Buford T. Justice. The Sheriff doesn't go after him, because he wants' the Bandit.

The point is, with all the police departments I listed above. Any one of them is going choose to ignore this.

Imaginative cops are great. But department policies are the problem. Regardless of state, county, or city.
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Old 02-17-16, 11:16 AM
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I like how they changed the law as to decrease the maximum fine from $100 to $50. This decision was probably made after days of heated debate.

Regardless, I don't ride within 'reach' of an opening car door. I'd rather avoid the incident altogether rather than rely on legislation to allow me prosecute such an incident after it occurs.
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Old 02-17-16, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by hooCycles View Post
Regardless, I don't ride within 'reach' of an opening car door. I'd rather avoid the incident altogether rather than rely on legislation to allow me prosecute such an incident after it occurs.
Simple. I don't ride on the shoulder, or in the 'door zone'.
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Old 02-17-16, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by hooCycles View Post
I like how they changed the law as to decrease the maximum fine from $100 to $50. This decision was probably made after days of heated debate.

Regardless, I don't ride within 'reach' of an opening car door. I'd rather avoid the incident altogether rather than rely on legislation to allow me prosecute such an incident after it occurs.
no kidding. doesn't really do much good to worry about who's at fault or what the law says if you're the one flopping like fish on the beach after plowing into open door in "the zone"......

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Old 02-17-16, 01:54 PM
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Drivers in Washington are legally required to wait until it's safe before opening their doors into traffic. I doubt many people here (in Seattle I mean, not on this web site) know that. This is something more people should be aware of.
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Old 02-17-16, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by adablduya View Post
i have always been of the belief that it is the responsibility of the driver of the parallel-parked car to ensure that there is no oncoming vehicle (including a cyclist) prior to opening the drivers door into the path of said vehicle (the "door-zone"). thus, any collision would be the fault of the parked-car driver. given this, it would seem that there should be no legislation necessary for this scenario.
Your "belief" is part of the vehicle code in most states, but in the absence of an explicit code for this situation the determination of fault is not clear. Until only a few years ago the vehicle code in Wisconsin assigned fault to the passing vehicle/bicycle for having been too close to the parked vehicle. The law was changed when there was a well publicized incident of a cyclist injured by being doored and then being issued a traffic citation while in the hospital.

Apparently the current Virginia vehicle code doesn't clearly assign fault to either party in a dooring situation. This bill sounds like a long-overdue remedy for that.
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Old 02-17-16, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by adablduya View Post
i have always been of the belief that it is the responsibility of the driver of the parallel-parked car to ensure that there is no oncoming vehicle (including a cyclist) prior to opening the drivers door into the path of said vehicle (the "door-zone"). thus, any collision would be the fault of the parked-car driver. given this, it would seem that there should be no legislation necessary for this scenario.

of course, as a cyclist, this scenario is completely predictable and avoidable.
Who gets the blame when a passenger in the rear driver side seat opens "their" door without first looking? Is it the driver's responsibility to make sure even the rear passenger doesn't open their door or is it just the passenger or is it both?
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Old 02-17-16, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris0516 View Post
Maybe/Maybe not. But there is also the politics of a given police department, as to the importance a department places on what happens to a cyclist. Even before the 'imaginative' officer can be smart enough.

In suburban Virginia, just south of DC, there is:

1. State-Virginia State Police
2. County-Arlington, Fairfax Fauqier, Spotsylvania
3. City-Arlington, Fairfax, Manassas, Manassas Park

Each with their own policies on whether to enforce this.

A perfect(while indirect) example of a dooring incident. Was in the 1977 movie 'Smokey and The Bandit'. At one point, country singer Roy Rogers makes a cameo appearance in the movie. Where he is driving an 18-wheeler, that rips off the driver-side door of the patrol car of Sheriff Buford T. Justice. The Sheriff doesn't go after him, because he wants' the Bandit.

The point is, with all the police departments I listed above. Any one of them is going choose to ignore this.

Imaginative cops are great. But department policies are the problem. Regardless of state, county, or city.
Not to sound like "Dirty Lyle" or anything, but the law is the law and should be enforced. And I'd say as has been said in the past PLENTY of times if law enforcement officials refuse to enforce a law that they are sworn to uphold and taking it "up the chain of command" gets nowhere then take it to both the media and the lawmakers.

Originally Posted by hooCycles View Post
I like how they changed the law as to decrease the maximum fine from $100 to $50. This decision was probably made after days of heated debate.

Regardless, I don't ride within 'reach' of an opening car door. I'd rather avoid the incident altogether rather than rely on legislation to allow me prosecute such an incident after it occurs.
Exactly, there is a road near me that has a bike lane that parallels on street parallel parking. Whenever I'm on that road I ALWAYS exit the bike lane a good cars length BEFORE I encounter the first parked car and I do NOT return to the bike lane until after I've passed the LAST parked car. The other side of this divided road is a shopping mall that is also a transfer point for several of the local bus routes. Again there is a bike lane on that side as well. Only this one runs parallel to where the buses stop and stand while waiting for their spot to pick up passengers, as well as where they stop to pick up said passengers. Whenever I'm on that side of the road I again exit the bike lane and travel in the main travel lane before I'm near the first bus and again I do NOT reenter the bike lane until AFTER I've passed the last bus.

Originally Posted by Chris0516 View Post
Simple. I don't ride on the shoulder, or in the 'door zone'.
Around here too many of what were formally shoulders have been painted for use a bike lane.

Originally Posted by adablduya View Post
no kidding. doesn't really do much good to worry about who's at fault or what the law says if you're the one flopping like fish on the beach after plowing into open door in "the zone"......
True, hence my earlier comment that if there's any either justice or karma in the world that we'd at least pin some part of their anatomy between the bike and their door.
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Old 02-19-16, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
Not to sound like "Dirty Lyle" or anything, but the law is the law and should be enforced. And I'd say as has been said in the past PLENTY of times if law enforcement officials refuse to enforce a law that they are sworn to uphold and taking it "up the chain of command" gets nowhere then take it to both the media and the lawmakers.
Yes, It should be enforced. But the excuse is, if they didn't see it. They can't do anything about it. They go after motorists' in vehicle-vehicle accidents. But when a cyclist is the victim, they won't lift a finger. Unless the cyclist is in the hospital or dead. Even then, they will fall back on the excuse of having to see the accident.
Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
Around here too many of what were formally shoulders have been painted for use a bike lane.
I am not surprised.
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Old 02-21-16, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris0516 View Post
Yes, It should be enforced. But the excuse is, if they didn't see it. They can't do anything about it. They go after motorists' in vehicle-vehicle accidents. But when a cyclist is the victim, they won't lift a finger. Unless the cyclist is in the hospital or dead. Even then, they will fall back on the excuse of having to see the accident.
Agreed, and I'm sorry, but that's just piss poor police work. Considering that more and more cyclists ARE traveling with some sort of camera on their bikes there does exist footage of more and more crashes. Plus there is/should be footage from various security/ATM/etc cameras that should show who was at fault.

What really sucks is when a cyclist has plenty of evidence that they truly were the victim and not the cause of a crash they're still blamed. I believe that we have a thread about that right now. That and sadly as we've seen too many times in the past. Lots of times the only time that the cyclist sees a cop is when the cop comes to their hospital room or home to give them a ticket citing them and accusing them of causing the crash. WITHOUT ever having interviewed the cyclist. Just taking the motorists self serving word for what happened.

Originally Posted by Chris0516 View Post
I am not surprised.
Sadly, nor am I. Even in those areas where the shoulder has not been repainted as a bike lane too many motorists think that they are a bike lane and expect cyclists to use them.
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Old 02-21-16, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
Agreed, and I'm sorry, but that's just piss poor police work. Considering that more and more cyclists ARE traveling with some sort of camera on their bikes there does exist footage of more and more crashes. Plus there is/should be footage from various security/ATM/etc cameras that should show who was at fault.
Yes
Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
What really sucks is when a cyclist has plenty of evidence that they truly were the victim and not the cause of a crash they're still blamed. I believe that we have a thread about that right now. That and sadly as we've seen too many times in the past. Lots of times the only time that the cyclist sees a cop is when the cop comes to their hospital room or home to give them a ticket citing them and accusing them of causing the crash. WITHOUT ever having interviewed the cyclist. Just taking the motorists self serving word for what happened.
Or when the cop comes upon the scene of a bike-vehicle accident, even before getting to the accident scene. Only to automatically blame the cyclist right away, without talking to the cyclist.
Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
Sadly, nor am I. Even in those areas where the shoulder has not been repainted as a bike lane too many motorists think that they are a bike lane and expect cyclists to use them.
Exactly!
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Old 02-21-16, 11:34 AM
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Many consider riding a bicycle to be very therapeutic, but apparently it seems to not fulfill the desperate need of a few.
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Old 02-21-16, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
Yes Johnny, glean the internet for a few isolated examples that will reinforce you personal stereotypes so you can have a persecution complex too.
This
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Old 02-21-16, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris0516 View Post
Yes

Or when the cop comes upon the scene of a bike-vehicle accident, even before getting to the accident scene. Only to automatically blame the cyclist right away, without talking to the cyclist.

Exactly!
Yep, and sadly down here in Florida way too many motorists do NOT know that there are certain requirements that have to be met in order for something to legally be considered a bike lane.

Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
Many consider riding a bicycle to be very therapeutic, but apparently it seems to not fulfill the desperate need of a few.
+100

For many with ADD/ADHD/Asperger's cycling is VERY therapeutic and healthier (for the most part) compared to some of the therapies out there.
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Old 02-21-16, 05:56 PM
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I think Oregon already has a dooring law.

ORS 811.490 - Improper opening or leaving open of vehicle door - 2013 Oregon Revised Statutes

811.490
Improper opening or leaving open of vehicle door
(1) A person commits the offense of improper opening or leaving open a vehicle door if the person does any of the following:
(a) Opens any door of a vehicle unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so and it can be done without interference with the movement of traffic, or with pedestrians and bicycles on sidewalks or shoulders.

(b) Leaves a door open on the side of a vehicle available to traffic, or to pedestrians or bicycles on sidewalks or shoulders for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
In a sense, it is all redundant. One should be SAFE when opening the door. If not, the person opening the door is at fault. Pretty simple.
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Old 02-21-16, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
In a sense, it is all redundant. One should be SAFE when opening the door. If not, the person opening the door is at fault. Pretty simple.
Yes, one should be careful when opening a door, but one should also be careful to pass at a safe distance. In the absence of a specific vehicle code dealing with this situation the assignment of fault can easily go either way. As you point out, Oregon's code has a specific dooring code, as does California. Wisconsin until a few years ago went the other way - assigning fault for improper passing in the event of a dooring, but that has now been changed to put the responsibility on the person opening the door.

So I disagree that these laws are redundant - they are necessary to avoid ambiguity in the assignment of liability when a dooring occurs.
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Old 02-21-16, 06:29 PM
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One can talk about improper passing.
Except for cities that build door-zone bike paths. And, also have laws requiring bicycles to use the door-zone bike paths.

I try to look in the windows of every car I pass, although I can't see them all. Also estimate the time the car has been parked, and often cut it rather close if there is no sign of active occupants.

I did notice the other day that I naturally give delivery vehicles/trucks a wide berth.
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