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Door Zones Kill

In an earlier thread, someone commented about almost being doored. Rather than threadjack it, I will post a couple of links here to remind people of the danger of door zones, and urge them to stay safely (three feet) to the left of parked cars unless riding very, very slowly.

The first is a video of door zone bike lanes in New York City, and the descriptive text includes a story from the NY Daily News. You can read the whole story at YouTube.

"Bicyclist killed after falling in front of truck"



Wednesday, December 5th 2007, 2:15 PM

A 63-year-old man bicycling in midtown Manhattan Wednesday morning hit a car door and flipped into the street before he was run over and killed by a box truck, police said.


There were no charges, cops said.

2009-07-18 23:13:15

that's incredible that there were no charges. again, windshield vision

2009-07-18 23:16:26

Another video on YouTube shows a motorist opening a car door into a bike lane a short distance ahead of a helmet-cam-wearing cyclist. Fortunately, there was time for the cyclist to avoid the door. This isn't the most dramatic "OMG! Cyclist Hits Door!!1!" video I could find, but it's clear and fairly smooth. As you watch this video, note that this only a medium-sized four-door sedan. These are small doors, and yet they still extend very far into the bike lane. The only safe bit of this bike lane that safely avoids the door is the left stripe. Arguably, the safest place to be in this bike lane is not in it, and then you would get to deal with the "get in the bike lane!" haterz.

2009-07-18 23:30:55

erok - the only thing I can figure is that maybe the door had been open for some time, and the cyclist wasn't looking. Or that's what the driver said and there weren't any surviving witnesses to say otherwise and nobody cared enough to subpeona surveillance video from the nearby buildings or the city. Midtown is crammed with cameras.

2009-07-18 23:34:44

I have an idea. Bike on the trails

2010-02-21 08:00:37

....except that trails don't go everywhere and aren't everywhere...

2010-02-21 15:38:29

Back in the fall I was almost "doored" by a county sherif parked on Grant street by the fed court house. This is normally a no parking area so I approached the parked & marked police vehicle whith some caution and slowed down, especially since I couldnt see inside the car. Good thing too 'cause as I got close he just through the door wide open. When I stopped my bike about three feet from his face as he started to get out of the car I just said "thanks" with as much sarcasim as I could muster and then drove on. He looked at me with a truly oh-shit expression like he knew he was in the bad, but that was it. I mention this bucause it should suprise no one that the police wont charge someone for causing a cyclist's death just by opening their door. It was just an accident right?

2010-02-21 16:28:04

Some palces the bicyclist is considered responsible for the dooring. Not sure if NY is one of those places.

Whether the biker was legally right or not, he's still dead, though.


2010-02-21 19:00:11

@ Marko82 last winter I was riding down Noblestown rd. in about 2" of slush on ice when I noticed a Pgh police car parked on the right side of my lane facing the wrong direction, with his front bumper pointing uphill towards me. Apparently there had been some sort of accident because of the road conditions and the cops were on the scene to investigate. Anyway, I could not avoid riding in the doorzone because that's where the tire track I was riding in was and if I attempted to take the lane it would have been very difficult to control my bike. Just as I passed the cop car's right front fender the cop in the passenger seat threw his door open right in front of me. I find it impossible to believe that he did not see me, I'm not saying he did and deliberately tried to hit me with the door, just saying...However I did manage to hop out of the tire track and into the mush without crashing. the point is no one is really safe in the doorzone even from the police!

2010-02-21 20:02:58

Here's an older collection of door zone accidents killing people.

A lot of the problem with most of the "no charges filed" cases is that despite laws being broken, the police fail to investigate fully enough and the DAs fail to bring charges.

2010-02-21 20:35:33

Threadbomb -

I'm trying desperately to make a new thread about the trek warehouse sale this sunday at robinson, 8am-5pm, but the board wont let me start a new thread or add to the old one.

2010-02-21 23:07:17

Just gave you two threads. Back to getting doored.

2010-02-21 23:19:42

> I have an idea. Bike on the trails

>> ....except that trails don't go everywhere and aren't everywhere...

And, if you comb the board for other threads, data exists showing that trails are not necessarily categorically safer than riding on the road.

2010-02-22 14:21:07

One driver at a time. Especially one non-cyclist driver at a time. Educate, educate, educate.

I usually open with the question, "Did you know the word 'door' is a verb?" If the person does not, they Right Then Now get educated. If we're in a car or in front of a computer screen with Internet access, so much the better.

2010-02-22 14:35:48

Yeah, see, bike on the trails doesn't work. Is contrary to pretty much everything I believe about bike advocacy. Especially for road riders who want to be able to crank it up to 30-35 mph once in a while. I want to be able to do that, roll with traffic, and I want to be able to go on the jail with the kids and plonk along at 10 mph and not worry about jackasses who ought to be on the road.

Cyclists need education too. If you ride on the road, knowing how not to get doored is just one of an infinite number of hazards you need to learn to avoid in order to stay alive. Take the space in the lane you need to avoid it, the law says it's yours.

Having said that, the police need to enforce existing laws that recognize cyclists rights, when someone gets hurt or killed "it's an accident" is a piss-poor excuse for stupity. Drivers need to check before they open doors, and that truck driver should have been in control of their vehicle in the event that person fell. And we need a 3 foot passing law.

2010-02-22 15:18:41

I have an idea. Bike on the trails

I have an idea, too--maybe it's better. Drive cars on the interstates only. It's just as realistic a suggestion.

2010-02-22 17:09:29

shorter canthecar88: "GET OFF THE ROAD!!"


2010-02-23 01:29:26

true. I just meant it's safer to bike on trails if you're wanting to get some exercise. But if you're commuting, you can't help it to be on the roads. No confusion intended, sorry. I feel bad about that post :/

2010-02-23 05:48:13

Man (or other), don't feel bad about the post, I totally understand your point of view, riding trails is great. As far as I'm concerned, any riding is great. But the ultimate goal is to get the whole road system safe for bikes (except obviously divided highways, +1 ieverhart!).

You should keep an eye out for some casual "fun' ride around town, riding through the city in the safety of a group can change your whole point of view. Have you ever ridden Pedal Pittsburgh, coming up in May?

People like you are the exact reason I think there should be frequent, casual, no-drop fun rides around town, because I'm sure there are tons of people out there who feel just like you do. Those are the people bike advocates need to nurture.

2010-02-23 12:30:39

@CanTheCar88 -

I don't know about the others, but to me, my admittedly extreme, irrational, anti-car hackles are raised by someone with your user name discouraging regular bike riding (regular = riding on the road).

I have canned my car. So have many others here. We even have a few thoroughbreds who have never driven a car.

But, how could you can the car if you stick to the trails? Not impossible, I suppose, but not the freedom of movement I'm seeking.

Exercise? I don't need no skeenking exercise.


2010-02-23 16:20:22
Would a bike lane on the left hand side of Forbes Ave. in Oakland with parking between it and the curb be a DZBL? Would it be as dangerous as one on the right hand side of Forbes Ave.?
2017-05-20 23:14:16
Forbes in Oakland is fine for cycling, as is. Right lane, take the lane, signal and check before getting in the center lane to pass the bus that's boarding 15 people. There is no right-hand, curb-side parking, so there is no door zone. Edit: Yes, a left-side DZBL would similarly be bad. There is typically less bike traffic along the left side, but yes, you can still get doored riding too close to cars on the left side of the street, bike lane or not.
2017-05-21 10:24:09
Wtf? No no no, Forbes is not ok for bikes. Maybe in a crowd, but on your own, competing with drivers for space, no no no. And there's that lovely stretch in front of the museum where it widens up for a bit and invites drivers to squeeze by, wherever you are in the lane. And then uphill on the speedway to CMU. Stu, c'mon.
2017-05-21 13:11:52
I was thinking of Craft to Bigelow. Yeah, beyond that is pretty dicey, I agree.
2017-05-21 14:42:18
How about Forbes Ave. east of Bellefield Ave.?
2017-05-21 16:55:10
It's a damned speedway, at least to Beeler. I know you're a recent addition to the board, Zach, but we took this topic apart six ways from Sunday last September, when PennDOT proposed a redesign there.
2017-05-21 23:35:12