Don’t get doored

Streetsblog made this illustration of how bike lanes are actually smaller than they might look, because you have to avoid doors. Here’s a good factoid:

According to the SFMTA, dooring is the second most common form of injury collision involving cyclists, behind unsafe speed, though the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) points out that dooring is the highest injury collision type caused by motorists or their passengers.

For goodness’ sake, don’t get doored! I see so many people riding really close to parked cars, traveling at high enough speeds that if a door pops open they’re fucked.

Read on for news about some possible changes coming to SF bike lanes. But the main thing is, stay out of the door zone, for goodness’ sake!

[via jwz]

44 Responses to “Don’t get doored”

  1. Matt says:

    Also, drivers, don’t door people. It’s on the person doing the dooring, per CVC.

    22517. No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open upon the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.

    • Pedro Navaja says:

      ············OR, the driver(s) shall not keep her big fat distracted ass waving like a pig bladder on a stick while they stupidly yank little Madison out of her child seat from the STREET side of the vehicle while a cellphone is cradled on her shoulder.

      Just sayin’.

  2. Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

    Bike Lanes that have parking inbetween them and the sidewalk are absofucking pointless. We need real bike lanes that are physically separated from traffic and parking.

  3. Tony T. says:

    When riding, try to stay 3 to 4 feet away from the parked cars, even if it pushes you to the outer edge of the bike lane. When it’s your ass lying on the pavement, it doesn’t matter whose fault it was.

  4. Top Heavy says:

    Totally agreed; a good friend of mine was doored and, even with a helmet, had serious head and brain trauma. Don’t lose focus, people!

  5. Andy says:

    Seriously, when riding a bike or motorbike, always assume everything that could go wrong will go wrong. Yes, every single car door will swing open right as you pass. Yes, that driver going the other way is going to turn left right in front of you. Yes, that car on your left in the right lane, just a few feet in front of you is about to turn right and he didn’t look over his shoulder so he’s going to slam right into you.

    Approach every intersection as if the road were frozen and you’re riding through a blizzard.

    Keep your eye on the vanishing point.

    etc etc etc etc.

    Personally, I find it far more dangerous biking in SF than riding a motorbike, yet the opposite is always assumed. Be careful out there.

    • Dave says:

      I ride my bike as though everyone is out to kill me.

    • All good advice. It’s strictly correct to say, as Matt does, “It’s on the person doing the dooring, per CVC.” But that’s irrelevant to accident prevention. If you want to avoid injury, you have to be a little paranoid, because the main responsibility is with the least protected.

      • GG says:

        Exactly. I try to be really careful but nobody’s perfect, and I am occasionally spaced out/distracted/whatever and fail to look before opening my door. If I ever (god forbid) hit a bicyclist, I’m sure it will be a HUGE comfort to them as they’re lying in the ambulance that THEY WERE IN THE RIGHT.

    • triple0 says:

      The SF fatality rate for bike / motorcycles (SWITRS) are:
      2005: 3 / 2
      2006: 2 / 4
      2007: 1 / 5
      2008: 3 / 8
      2009: 1 / 8

      That’s grand total of:
      10 dead bicycle riders to
      27 dead motorcyclists.

      Nearly three times as many people bike as ride motorcycles in SF, according to the SFMTA (Transportation Fact Sheet 2009).

      So, that makes a eight times as likely to die on a motorcycle than a bicycle. Sorry – ‘assumption’ confirmed.

      • Motorcyclists ride on freeways; bicyclists don’t.

        • triple0 says:

          While true, how is that relevant to the discussion? On any type of street in SF, it still holds true:

          Riding a motorcycle in SF is more dangerous than riding a bike.

          • It’s relevant because the fatalities for motorcycles include deaths on SF freeways. Motorcycle accidents on freeways are more likely to be fatal because the speeds involved are higher. Bicycles don’t go on freeways — therefore, the statistics are skewed to show more danger on motorcycles. The two fatality rates are not really comparable, because they are not derived from comparable situations.

            If you want to do a meaningful statistical analysis of the two forms of transportation, you have to comb through the numbers and eliminate those that come from freeways and freeway on-ramps.

  6. Marzbite says:

    Don’t rely on laws to protect bikers/pedestrians, be aware of your surroundings and use common sense wether you are the rider or driver/passenger.

  7. Doug Madey says:

    Speed of the rider is important here. Let’s stop Lance Armstrong-ing each other in the bike lane.

    • Ben says:

      Can we cut out the “shoaling” bullshit too, pretty please?!

      Where shoaling is defined as coming to a stop ahead of cyclists who are already stopped at a light/intersection/whatever. Especially if your bike is incapable of selecting a sensible for gear ratio for accelerating from a complete stop.

      (see for expanded definition)

      • t.hanks says:

        yep. it bums me out when i’m stopped at a red before the crosswalk so that pedestrians can actually cross and then some idiot rolls in front of me and starts doing trackstands in the crosswalk while nervous pedestrians walk around him . . .

        i also get bummed out by people who think that riding in the bike lane is some sort of race and don’t seem to be aware of the timing of stoplights. therefore on every block they haul ass to pass me and then slam on their brakes at the red light. when the light turns green i roll past them and then they do the same thing all over again. block after block.

        • rick fields says:

          seriously right on the money. I can never tell if they are rebelling against our internal combustion culture or if its just “I am not satisfied with my lot in life” kind of statement.

          p.s. there really seems to be a lot of confusion about the uses of your, and you’re on this thing.
          Why don’t you people calm down before you kill everything my third grade teacher worked so hard to instill in me.

          p.s.s. you’re bike sucks anyway

      • EH says:

        Shoaling dicks and bitches are more dangerous than cars on my Valencia -> Downtown commute.

  8. beau d says:

    aren’t they supposed to switch the Valencia bike lanes to the middle of the street, where the suicide lane now is?

  9. 49_Giants says:

    A sincere question:

    What do you guys think about babies on bicycles?

    I, personally, am not an everyday cyclist or driver as my commuting needs are largely satisfied by walking or public transit, and so most of what I understand about bicycling in the City is from what I read online. And from what I understand, bicycling in this city can be an extremely dangerous activity, as described in many of the comments above.

    I live on 22nd and I see a lot of bicycles with babies on board, and after my initial smiley reaction, I wonder, shit, is that safe?!

    Now, I understand that most of the dangerous behavior on bikes will not be done by people cycling around with babies (speeding, not stopping at stop signs, etc.) but I wonder about the factors that a bicyclist can’t account for, and these things, it seems are plenty.

    God, I don’t even want to think about what would happen if a baby on handlebars got doored. Frack.

    • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

      This doesn’t really address your question, but it made me think of the face that the other day I saw a guy riding a trike with two kids seated up front, forward of the wheels. Offspring as impact absorption devices? Babies-as-bumpers?

      Looked sorta similar to this, but less safe:

    • I don’t like it, wouldn’t do it, and consider it the same kind of child endangerment as leaving unlocked handguns in your bed-stand drawer. But kids get hurt and killed in car accidents, too, so I guess childhood survival depends, in part, on how paranoid your parents are.

    • t.hanks says:

      personally i wouldn’t do it. the idea of getting into a bike accident with a baby on-board is not a pleasant one.

      even if you and everyone else on the road with you is being careful, sometimes shit just happens that you can’t prevent. like sometimes you randomly get a pinch-flat that makes you take a little spill, usually not that big a deal, but it would be catastrophic with a baby involved . . .

  10. padre mission says:

    It’s almost always men (fathers) doin it. We’re dumb like that. My wifey hipped me to how dumbass dads are – taking their kids out to the bagel shop in PJs and Crocs. You can always tell when it’s ‘dad’s turn’ – we’re idiots and should not be in charge of important shit like kids and government. I have 3 kids and do dumb shit on the reg. I do not do the # 1 stupid-ass new dad move: throwing your babies up in the air and catching them – well I’ve done it a few times – but it just screams DUMBASS NEW DAD!!!!I just shake my head when I see that. Stay off the road with those kids.

  11. I don’t have a definitive source for this, but I believe that a lot of European countries require you to open the driver side door with your opposite hand when exiting your car — that way you are forced to look out and back. Even heard that you can fail a driving test that way.

    A good idea, regardless.