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I almost got doored - yet most drivers blame me. How do we improve car culture?

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I almost got doored - yet most drivers blame me. How do we improve car culture?

Old 09-16-19, 01:43 PM
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I almost got doored - yet most drivers blame me. How do we improve car culture?

I recently posted a video where I almost got doored in a non-bike related forum. Every single response blame me. Some say I rode too close to the parked car, so it was my fault. Others say I should be riding with my dog. Yet some say I shouldn't have been weaving. Here is the video:


This is in Santa Monica, a beach city. Lots of bicycles and e-scooters. I have to ride 17 blocks on the street (with a bike lane) to get to the safe beach bike path. It's illegal to ride on the sidewalk in Santa Monica. I ride with my two dogs. One in the front basked, and the other running along side (to my left) while I hold her leash. In the video, you don't see my dog running next to me due to the camera angle. Here is a better view of us during another ride (jump 40 seconds in the video):


I'm just baffled. How can you blame a cyclist for riding in the bike lane and not blame the careless driver who flings their door open? How do we change people's mentality?
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Old 09-16-19, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by howardv
I'm just baffled. How can you blame a cyclist for riding in the bike lane and not blame the careless driver who flings their door open? How do we change people's mentality?
"Blame" is not a useful word here.

The lane is in the "door zone". Riding in the "door zone" is risky.

These three things are true:

1- Drivers need to learn to look back whether or not there's a bicycle lane.

2- Bicyclists need to understand that the "door zone" is a risky place to ride. Green paint doesn't make it less risky.

3- Cyclists should not be riding in a bicycle lane if it's dangerous/risky to be riding there.

As the cyclist, you can't do much to control 1.

As the cyclist, if you aren't dealing with 2 and 3, you aren't doing enough to keep yourself safe (you aren't "driving defensively"). Don't rely on others to keep you safe.

Legally, it's going to be the driver's "fault" but that being useful entails you first being in a collision.

Last edited by njkayaker; 09-16-19 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 09-16-19, 02:37 PM
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that bike lane is the door zone, so dumb
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Old 09-16-19, 03:12 PM
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Good luck trying to change driving culture. It will never work. What will work is to improve cars and car doors, through technology. Once we all figure this out, it will be a lot easier.
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Old 09-16-19, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
that bike lane is the door zone, so dumb
If that bike lane is in the door zone, they ALL are. And what does that tell you? America has the absolute lowest bicycle usage per capita in the developed world. That they give bikes a lane at all is doing pretty good IMO. Does that make me dumb for thinking that? Being so much wiser, where would you put it? Maybe shut down an entire vehicle lane? That could work. Maybe it would be better if the 225 million active motorists in the U.S. told the 20 million vehicular cyclists to cease and desist forthwith and repatriated all existing bicycle infrastructure for its proper function. Perspective is a heck of a thing.
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Old 09-16-19, 03:49 PM
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On another forum, or maybe it was this one, some guy was riding with his dog on a leash and the two of them got tangled up and he ran over his dog. But God is good. His dog is fine, but in his fall the end of the handlebar went through his chest. He is a C5 quadriplegic for the rest of his life. He can breathe without machines but that's it. DON"T run your dog alongside your bike! It is not a best practice. It's stressful for them and not a whole lot of fun as it appears to be. And you could end up in an accident. That would suck rocks, I think. FWIW.
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Old 09-16-19, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
Riding in the "door zone" is risky.

These three things are true:

3- Cyclists should not be riding in a bicycle lane if it's dangerous/risky to be riding there.

.....Don't rely on others to keep you safe.
Any part of the road that not physically blocked off is dangerous. The bicycle lane is the least dangerous part of the road (I'm not saying "safe"). There is no other choice. We have to pick our poison if we want to continue this sport. And you are 100% correct, we can't rely on others to keep us safe, but perhaps they can be somehow more educated! Billboards, TV ads, etc.

Originally Posted by Newspaper_Nick
Good luck trying to change driving culture. It will never work. What will work is to improve cars and car doors, through technology. Once we all figure this out, it will be a lot easier.
I'm in my 50's and will never see that day!

Originally Posted by Leisesturm
On another forum, or maybe it was this one, some guy was riding with his dog on a leash and the two of them got tangled up and he ran over his dog. But God is good. His dog is fine, but in his fall the end of the handlebar went through his chest. He is a C5 quadriplegic for the rest of his life. He can breathe without machines but that's it. DON"T run your dog alongside your bike! It is not a best practice. It's stressful for them and not a whole lot of fun as it appears to be. And you could end up in an accident. That would suck rocks, I think. FWIW.
I've been biking with dogs for decades. I take a lot of time to train the dogs and practice. I keep full control over a short leash. It's awesome to get them out of the house and running. We all love the beach bike path. I realize there are dangers and accidents can happen, but it's worth the risk. Just like we all love cycling with all it's risks.
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Old 09-16-19, 04:49 PM
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Yes, the driver was careless for opening her door without checking. But green paint or not, you were riding in the doorzone. If you want to avoid being doored, don't ride in the doorzone.

I disagree with you that the bike lane is the least dangerous part of the road; your video illustrates exactly why.
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Old 09-16-19, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by howardv
I recently posted a video where I almost got doored in a non-bike related forum. Every single response blame me. Some say I rode too close to the parked car, so it was my fault. Others say I should be riding with my dog. Yet some say I shouldn't have been weaving. Here is the video:

https://youtu.be/wjG5kYHS4ng

This is in Santa Monica, a beach city. Lots of bicycles and e-scooters. I have to ride 17 blocks on the street (with a bike lane) to get to the safe beach bike path. It's illegal to ride on the sidewalk in Santa Monica. I ride with my two dogs. One in the front basked, and the other running along side (to my left) while I hold her leash. In the video, you don't see my dog running next to me due to the camera angle. Here is a better view of us during another ride (jump 40 seconds in the video):

https://youtu.be/ripg0M6aDAk?t=38

I'm just baffled. How can you blame a cyclist for riding in the bike lane and not blame the careless driver who flings their door open? How do we change people's mentality?
I would not blame you for that. The bike lane in the video is almost completely in the door zone. I ride in a few of those and hug the left most edge when I do. I get cars that don't give me the 3 feet, so it's a trade off. Your added width may not make that possible. You are never going to change people's mentality. At 17 blocks you should be just under a mile before the dedicated path. If you slow to running pace it'll give you time to assess and react and only take you about 10 minutes to get to the path. That may be your only option.
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Old 09-16-19, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by howardv
Any part of the road that not physically blocked off is dangerous.
Even blocked-off parts aren't risk free. Anyway, riding in a blocked-off part isn't an option here (so talking about blocked-off parts is irrelevant).

Originally Posted by howardv
The bicycle lane is the least dangerous part of the road (I'm not saying "safe").
This isn't always true. In this case, it appears to be a relatively slow road.

It's not certain that riding in the door zone is safer (the magic green paint doesn't, by itself, make it safer).

Experts in bicycling safety recommend not riding in the door zone. So, your notion that it's safer to do so (in this case) runs contrary to standard advice.

I'd be very surprised if anybody here says you should be in the door zone.

Last edited by njkayaker; 09-16-19 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 09-16-19, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
If that bike lane is in the door then they all are
no they aren’t. there are many diff kinds of bike lanes - this one is near me and provides more ‘elbow room’ away from the cars.


I’ve also seen ‘protected’ bike lanes using a variety of methods to separate bikes from cars

also sorry for any misunderstanding I wasn’t saying anything about you
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Old 09-16-19, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
If that bike lane is in the door zone, they ALL are.
* There isn't any doubt that lane is in the door zone.

* There are many examples of lanes that aren't in the door zone. It's surprising you've never seen one.
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Old 09-16-19, 08:22 PM
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No bike lane should ever be in a door zone. Much better to have no bike lane.
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Old 09-16-19, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by jon c.
No bike lane should ever be in a door zone. Much better to have no bike lane.
That can be arranged.
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Old 09-16-19, 11:05 PM
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There isn't a real answer. The problem is widespread. It would be less common with a steady stream of bikes in the bike lane, but as it is, one doesn't notice the occasional passing bike.

That bike lane appears to have a 1' to 1 1/2' buffer between the cars and bikes which helps a bit.

The driver in the video also appears to be opening the door slowly, so a cyclist has a little time to react. Still, 1 to 2 seconds between the door cracking and being opened into the bike lane.

I don't see the cyclist putting on the brakes, but does more left slightly.

I do wonder if a road bike would have been more nimble in that situation than a cargo bike. Nonetheless, I am also a utility cyclist, and know the demands of utility cycling.
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Old 09-16-19, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
no they aren’t. there are many diff kinds of bike lanes - this one is near me and provides more ‘elbow room’ away from the cars.

https://youtu.be/kl3X3jZvjoc

I’ve also seen ‘protected’ bike lanes using a variety of methods to separate bikes from cars

also sorry for any misunderstanding I wasn’t saying anything about you
I know the Minuteman crossover in the video quite well. You do realize you rode right through the door zone of several parked vehicles in that video, right?
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Old 09-17-19, 03:20 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions
I know the Minuteman crossover in the video quite well. You do realize you rode right through the door zone of several parked vehicles in that video, right?
Reread what I wrote- it’s not as narrow or as close to the cars so one can ride further from the cars but there are others with a ‘margin’ between the cars and the bike lane - that original one posted w the puppies is very narrow and right up against where the cars are which I thought was dumb but not looking before getting out of a car is even dumber
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Old 09-17-19, 04:13 AM
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We (in Ireland) constantly deal with the Road Safety Authority (RSA) treating cyclists as the problem: WE should wear high-vis vests; WE should wear more lights; WE should have every piece of safety equipment going... otherwise, WE are (at least partially) at fault.

To that I say: NO. Cyclists are not the problem.

The lack of cycling infrastructure - and paint is NOT infrastructure - is a problem.
The deference to cars and trucks - a "motocracy" - at the cost of everyone else (pedestrians and cyclists), is a problem.
Not putting pedestrians and cyclists first, is a problem.

I don't see this changing soon, there simply isn't the political willpower to make it happen. It will take global catastrophe, with parts of the world becoming uninhabitable due to climate change, and other similar dramatic events, for people to reconsider their transport habits.
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Old 09-17-19, 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions
I know the Minuteman crossover in the video quite well. You do realize you rode right through the door zone of several parked vehicles in that video, right?
9’ parking stalls, 6’ bike lane. So he rode over 12’ from the curb. Even with walk to the curb parking common in MA, how big are your doors?

To contrast, in Santa Monica 7' parking stalls, 1' "buffer", 5' "bike lane."

-mr. bill

Last edited by mr_bill; 09-17-19 at 06:05 AM.
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Old 09-17-19, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill
9’ parking stalls, 6’ bike lane. So he rode over 12’ from the curb. Even with walk to the curb parking common in MA, how big are your doors?

To contrast, in Santa Monica 7' parking stalls, 1' "buffer", 5' "bike lane."

-mr. bill
Look at the actual video. I won't harp on it too much because it may be an artifact of the camera angle, but it looks pretty clear to me that the spot on the path he is riding on as he passes the parked cars is well within the span of an opened door. I ride that particular curve on the left side of the lane, your numbers be damned.
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Old 09-17-19, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
Reread what I wrote- it’s not as narrow or as close to the cars so one can ride further from the cars but there are others with a ‘margin’ between the cars and the bike lane - that original one posted w the puppies is very narrow and right up against where the cars are which I thought was dumb but not looking before getting out of a car is even dumber
No, I got what you wrote, I just found your positioning in the lane rather odd if you are concerned with door zones. There's room, but you're not really using it.

It's possible you are and it's an artifact of the camera angle, but I don't think so.
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Old 09-17-19, 06:32 AM
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Person opening the door made an honest mistake, IMO. No one was hurt. I would not worry about trying to change other people too much, just be more careful next time, and not be so quick to anger. I'm sure the person opening the door has a very different version of this event, which is equally valid.
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Old 09-17-19, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions
Look at the actual video. I won't harp on it too much because it may be an artifact of the camera angle, but it looks pretty clear to me that the spot on the path he is riding on as he passes the parked cars is well within the span of an opened door. I ride that particular curve on the left side of the lane, your numbers be damned.
I think you are getting thrown off by the wide lens.

Mr. about to take the lane is riding in the door zone here:



rumrunn6 is riding right over the center of the arrow. Mr. about to take the lane is now also riding in the center of the lane. Neither are riding in the door zone:




In any event, everyone is riding slowly (since why race to the red light), and there is NO traffic on the road to the right/behind (because they are stopped at the stop light a block inbound).

On the Danger Danger Will Robinson scale of 1-10, this is a -3.


-mr. bill

Last edited by mr_bill; 09-17-19 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 09-17-19, 07:15 AM
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Things I've heard about a cyclist getting "doored":

1) being in the wrong place on the road (which happens to be the cycle path!)
2) not wearing enough high-vis
3) not having brighter lights
4) going too fast
5) cycling with a dog
6) not being in a car
7) not "expecting the unexpected"
8) having the wrong kind of bike

There are probably more.

All of this before /even considering/ that *the person opening the car door did not look first*. Spot the problem.
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Old 09-17-19, 07:34 AM
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My suggestion: Ring your bell or sound your horn as you ride past parked cars.
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