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Los Angeles Times article - rider doored and died

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Los Angeles Times article - rider doored and died

Old 12-21-23, 10:01 AM
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Los Angeles Times article - rider doored and died

https://www.latimes.com/california/s...ywood-producer

Being doored to death is a cyclist’s nightmare – How can it be prevented-Q
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Old 12-21-23, 10:49 AM
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That is a very sad story. I am very aware of this problem and try my best to avoid being struck by a door by "taking the lane" where cars are parked even though there is a bike lane . I really don't think there is a safe way to have parked cars in the bike lane. I had a friend , or knew of someone , can't remember . They were pulled over by police for not being in the bike lane. The cyclist asked the officer if he had any idea why he wasn't riding in the bike lane , the officer replied "no". He asked the officer to open his car door and look at where the edge of the door was in relation to the painted line , that was the end of the conversation. A lot of folks , particularly in crowded areas , just don't think , even when they see the bicycle painted in the bike lane. One of my rides along the coast goes by a popular surf spot . The surfers lay their boards across the bike lane while they use the lane to change and dry off, forcing the cyclists out into 50mph traffic. I don't think there is an answer to this problem , as long as these "bike lanes" are used for other purposes , there will be conflict , sometimes at the well being of the person who is just riding their bike.
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Old 12-21-23, 11:14 AM
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Very sad indeed.

Have never been a victim of this but ride very defensively when passing parked cars. Always am looking for a driver or passenger in the vehicles and will take the lane if the speed limit is 25 or less. I prefer to control the variables rather than leaving it up to others. Scary stuff.
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Old 12-21-23, 11:16 AM
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If only there was an Advocacy & Safety forum here.
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Old 12-21-23, 11:18 AM
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Similarly, I'm always watchful of $60,000 vehicles that do not have turn signals when they start pulling away from a curb.
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Old 12-21-23, 11:21 AM
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Same article without paywall/adblocker (but Bill Gates)

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/be...ed/ar-AA1lJ6Ka

"...After being doored, George was flung by the impact onto North Edgemont Street in East Hollywood, where a second driver hit him, causing “traumatic head injuries,” the police report said. George was declared dead at 1:05 p.m., about an hour after the collision. ...)

Both times I've been doored it was because I was passing a seemingly unoccupied parked car a little closer because I knew a car was behind me. Both times I was flung into the middle of the lane. Thankfully, the cars were far enough back that they saw that whole thing and stopped. (Both times there was nothing that could be seen inside the car. First was at night. The lone car was parked under a streetlight. No lights on in the car. Second, the woman was looking for her kid's toy on the passenger-side floor. High headrest on the driver's seat.

A car door is basically a catapult that changes the riders direction 90 degrees.

My policy now when I approach a parked car is to alter my course slightly very early so I will pass that door fully opened with room to spare without ever needing to do anything sudden. Car drivers often don't like it because it cuts down on their passing opportunity. I've been given thanks from truck drivers because I made it easy for them to keep their driving record clean and their day boring.
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Old 12-21-23, 11:29 AM
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Many so called bike lanes are well designed death traps. I read that being doored is the #1 cause of death for bicyclists in England. When I see a so called bike lane designed with the benefit of riding in the door zone I refuse to ride in it. Many people will just ride in them having no clue as to the consequences. If there is another rode going my way. I will use it, If not. I can ride out into traffic around the door zone or walk my bicycle on the sidewalk to get past the problem.
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Old 12-21-23, 11:46 AM
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I have been hit by cars twice, run off the road/cut off/threatened etc more often than i remember.

I was doored, landed in the opposing traffic lane in front of an on-coming car. The on coming driver stopped in time. The occupants of the offending car helped me. I was hit by a right hand turning driver, went over his hood and landed in the middle of the intersection. Drivers stopped and helped. The guy who ran into me did too.

All i mean to say is that car drivers are both careless and carefull. I still commute by bike every day. what happened to me happened to me and i still ride my bike not despite but because. I mourn those not so lucky. But everything has risks, including driving a car.

It is horrible when horrible things happen.

But continuing despite that is good.

And the best middle finger to the dumb asses.

​​​​​
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Old 12-21-23, 01:09 PM
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Rest in peace, Bob. 😢

Same thing happens when you occasionally ride on the sidewalks in the busy area of the city adjacent to restaurants, bars, and other types of mom-and-pop stores, and someone opens a store door to exit, all of a sudden.

Slow down the pedaling and ride the bike maintaining at least 3 feet distance.
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Old 12-21-23, 01:53 PM
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Unfortunately in most communities, there is no fix. 100% of the issue is not providing enough off street parking initially. If there were, implementing No Parking on streets would be an easy solution.

And as communities age, there will be little chance being able to add enough room to accommodate traffic, parked cars, and bikes. Especially with the lack of housing, any bicycle problem is non-existent.

Bike lanes adjacent to parking are also a problem since they provide a buffer from moving traffic for drivers in parked cars.

The only hope is technology built into cars to sense an oncoming bicyclist and warn the driver, or even slow down/limit the opening of the door.

John
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Old 12-21-23, 02:48 PM
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When I taught cycling skills classes, there were three things I always tried to cover:
1. Never jeopardize your safety for someone else's convenience.
2. With widespread window tint and mandatory headrests, it's very difficult to accurately assess occupancy of a parked motor vehicle.
3. If you're not riding in or near the swing path of a opening motor vehicle door, you're probably not going to hit it (or have it hit you).

I still mention these on group rides when appropriate.
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Old 12-21-23, 03:25 PM
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Moved to A&S from General Cycling

All you can do is stay out of the door zone. It's a little scary at first, but it beats running into the edge of a door and getting run over.
Alternatively you can look for people on the drivers side of the vehicle. This tends to take a lot of effort and it's still probably not a good idea.
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Old 12-21-23, 03:53 PM
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The only reliable way to not get doored is to ride outside the door zone. Motorists should look first and be cautious, but they don't do that. They're so bad at it that some auto manufacturers are trying to engineer cars to prevent the drivers from dooring cyclists.
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Old 12-21-23, 05:16 PM
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Sad, indeed!

Perhaps I missed it but did not see any information about the speed of the bicyclist.
On busy roads used by everyone, including parking cars, careful bicyclists assume all responsibilities of their own safety… and they should. New rules or laws through advocacy aren’t going to change laws of physics!
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Old 12-21-23, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by JW Fas
The only reliable way to not get doored is to ride outside the door zone.
BINGO!

Originally Posted by JW Fas
Motorists should look first and be cautious, but they don't do that. They're so badat it that some auto manufacturers are trying to engineer cars to prevent the drivers from dooring cyclists.
First I've heard of this; can you please maybe provide attribution?

Most vehicles have outside rear view mirrors now. Problem being, those drivers that have them tend only to use them when they're actually in traffic & moving at speed. When parked – with traffic or a bike lane outside their door – it's the 1% I've seen who bother to check their mirror before opening that bike-lane-obstruction in waiting. 1% of those folks will take enough time to perceive an approaching cyclist (headlight help!!) and act accordingly.

I have a Waldorf school on my route to work. When I ride that section I'm riding centered up, as far left in my lane as I can be. I've seen doors opened by kids, parents, into my lane. I've seen parents drop their kids off INTO THE ONCOMING TRAFFIC LANE (exiting out the left here in the US) rather than having them exit out the right onto the parking. I've had parent do a 3-point turn IN FRONT OF ME to avoid having to make a left turn half a block further down.

From that article:

"...drivers are “just not conscious” of cyclists and non-motorists on the road, mobility-justice advocate Yolanda Davis-Overstreet said."

Too true that.

There's really no excusing this kind of behavior but It Happens Routinely just the same. If you're not piloting a (min.) 3,000 lb motorized vehicle when out on the public roadways, you must be 100% vigilant to the potential for any number of inattentive or simply ignorant drivers who can and will ruin your day (maybe take your life at the same time) in the blink of an eye.

It was bad enough 50 years ago. The advent of touch-screen displays in vehicles and widespread cell phone usage the last twenty years have made things even worse.

Last edited by spclark; 12-21-23 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 12-21-23, 11:33 PM
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Recently I was riding through a small town's main street. Two traffic lanes in both directions, with street-side parking. Very light traffic all the time. Another cyclist just happened to be a bit in front of me. We both had no choice but to be in the traffic lane, but I was cringing as this other guy was sailing by the parked cars about as close as you could be. Well within the door zone. He was in full road kit, so not a casual cyclist and likely experienced. I just shook my head.

Fortunately nothing happened. But it's like playing Russian roulette. Do that enough, and it's going to happen. I can only assume the other rider believed he was being safe riding as far to the right as possible. But with the very light traffic and another lane cars could use, there's was no reason not to clearly take the lane.

While drivers have a responsibility to look, it's an easy mistake to make. Though I tend to look because I worry about a car taking my door off. Not riding in the door zone is just one of the many defensive riding techniques we have to use. And if traffic is too heavy and fast to take the lane, then I'd find another route or at least ride very slowly to give everyone more time to react, and to minimize the severity of a collision.
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Old 12-22-23, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Mtracer
Recently I was riding through a small town's main street. Two traffic lanes in both directions, with street-side parking. Very light traffic all the time. Another cyclist just happened to be a bit in front of me. We both had no choice but to be in the traffic lane, but I was cringing as this other guy was sailing by the parked cars about as close as you could be. Well within the door zone. He was in full road kit, so not a casual cyclist and likely experienced. I just shook my head.

Fortunately nothing happened. But it's like playing Russian roulette. Do that enough, and it's going to happen. I can only assume the other rider believed he was being safe riding as far to the right as possible. But with the very light traffic and another lane cars could use, there's was no reason not to clearly take the lane.

While drivers have a responsibility to look, it's an easy mistake to make. Though I tend to look because I worry about a car taking my door off. Not riding in the door zone is just one of the many defensive riding techniques we have to use. And if traffic is too heavy and fast to take the lane, then I'd find another route or at least ride very slowly to give everyone more time to react, and to minimize the severity of a collision.
This ^^^, first and foremost. Ride the bike at a slow or controlled pace, ensuring that you always retain control over your riding speed, which affords not only you but also other road users ample time to react and respond. Most accidents, even collisions between cars, occur as a result of poor judgment regarding the speed at which individuals are traveling. Sure, I like to ride fast, but I also keep in mind the need to slow down or ride at a controlled pace, based on the road conditions at that time.

Since it is about riding pace, make sure that your brake pads and braking mechanism are in optimal working condition, always. Extremely important. If my brakes are not stopping the bike, I am not riding the bike that day, until I fix or replace them.

Last edited by Eyes Roll; 12-22-23 at 12:38 AM.
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Old 12-22-23, 01:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Eyes Roll
This ^^^, first and foremost. Ride the bike at a slow or controlled pace, ensuring that you always retain control over your riding speed, which affords not only you but also other road users ample time to react and respond. Most accidents, even collisions between cars, occur as a result of poor judgment regarding the speed at which individuals are traveling. Sure, I like to ride fast, but I also keep in mind the need to slow down or ride at a controlled pace, based on the road conditions at that time.
While riding at a reasonable and prudent speed is generally wise advice (and someday I might just heed that advice on a steep descent), keep in mind that a motor vehicle door can go from fully closed to fully open in about half a second. A reasonably alert road user under normal conditions can get the perception part of the perception-reaction formula down to about 0.7 seconds (although for most road users it's typically well over one second, especially when distracted), but what that means is that if the door opens within less than one second's travel time (within 20 feet or so, or a long car length), your brain is still processing the perception part and probably hasn't quite gotten to the reaction part when impact occurs.

Hence the recommendation to avoid the area of door sweep in the first place.

It is true that under intense concentration and practice one can reduce perception-reaction responses to small fractions of a second (drag racers, quick-draw shooters, etc.), but this requires a level of focus on specific stimuli that might be very risky to employ in a busy traffic environment. And it's also rather fatiguing to maintain such a focus, and even experts can only do so for a limited time.
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Old 12-22-23, 07:26 PM
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very tragic.

Bike lanes by me minds well be marked for trail hikers. I can sink my wheels in the large gaps that are only getting worse.
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Old 12-23-23, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Alan K
Sad, indeed!

Perhaps I missed it but did not see any information about the speed of the bicyclist.
On busy roads used by everyone, including parking cars, careful bicyclists assume all responsibilities of their own safety… and they should. New rules or laws through advocacy aren’t going to change laws of physics!
Yeah, and when a waitress with a full arm of dinners walks by your table it's her responsibility to not get tripped by the foot that was "accidently" stuck out a fraction of a second before she passed.

In busy 50's diners it's everyone's responsibility to look out for themselves. Making a don't trip the waitress law isn't going to change the laws of physics.

Good job.

When did "don't harm others" stop being a personal responsibility?

Last edited by base2; 12-23-23 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 12-23-23, 09:39 AM
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Bike lanes that aren't in the door zone can help with the physics of the issue.

Riding really, really slowly isn't a viable alternative.
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Old 12-23-23, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by base2
When did "don't harm others" stop being a personal responsibility?
About the same time as when "me FIRST" became the norm.

Can't pin it to a specific date but looking back I'm thinking it started becoming evident to me around the mid-'80's where I lived, worked and played back then.

Originally Posted by jon c.
Bike lanes that aren't in the door zone can help with the physics of the issue.
Never seen that unless they're completely separate from motor vehicle traffic.

Where I am now they're typically placed between vehicle lanes and parking. Kind of a double-whammy hiding in plain sight.

Originally Posted by jon c.
Riding really, really slowly isn't a viable alternative.
Not everywhere, no. But if you can stay aware of your immediate surroundings you ought to adjust your speed for any apparent hazards. Sometimes it's unconscious, sometimes you have to do it with specific intent.

Last edited by spclark; 12-23-23 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 12-23-23, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by spclark


Never seen that unless they're completely separate from motor vehicle traffic.

Where I am now they're typically placed between vehicle lanes and parking. Kind of a double-whammy hiding in plain sight.
We have a few here on new or completely reconstructed roads. The door zone is blocked out with diagonal lines and the bike lane is outside that.

But we don't have a lot of on street parking outside of residential streets. So most bike lanes are between the traffic lane and the curb.

Last edited by jon c.; 12-24-23 at 04:41 PM.
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Old 12-23-23, 07:38 PM
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The very fact that society is aware of a danger and they still insist on facilitating this danger by continually building faulty bicycle infrastructure, shows me that they are complicit in every death and injury that happens because of it. I don't ride in the door zone and continually avoid roads with this kind of bicycle infrastructure. I do believe that people that ride in the door zone for any reason are TSTBA.
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Old 12-26-23, 01:39 AM
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If this had happened here in Japan, the driver of the car would have been arrested on the spot and put in jail, and would still be in jail today. He would have gone to jail immediately after his arrest, he would not have been able to bail himself out, or be released while he awaited trial.

Because the consequences of causing injury or death while operating a vehicle (even just from opening the door) are severe in Japan, drivers are very careful, and Japan’s traffic injury and fatality rates are almost one-fifth what they are in America. This is all the more impressive when you consider the narrowness and crowded nature of Japan’s streets, and the sheer number of cyclists on the road; more than 1.5 million people commute by bicycle in Tokyo every day, despite an almost entire lack of any dedicated bike lanes or paths.
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