What Can Happen in the Door Zone

Not long ago I published photos, video, and explanatory graphics of the new bicycle lane on Benton between Drury University and Commercial Street. Please see:

Now it’s time to see what a door-zone crash looks like. What you are about to see is not an accident. It is a predictable outcome of riding a bicycle too close to parked cars. Door-zone bicycle lanes, such as the one on Benton, put bicyclists — usually novices — into this situation by fooling them into believing they are safe.

Given the amount of student traffic on Benton, it is only a matter of time before we’ll have a crash like the one above.

Also, please see this post at Commute Orlando.

From Cyclelicious, see also:

  1. Dooring a bus & blaming the bus driver
  2. Dooring kills
  3. Bronx cyclist doored, killed by bus
  4. Door Prize in the New York Times

Please use the tools at the bottom of this post to share this video far and wide. You might help save a life.

UPDATE: This video compiled by Dan Gutierrez demonstrates the danger of door-zone crashes.

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Comments 8

  1. Keri wrote:

    Andy, you can download that here and embed it on your site:

    Posted 23 Sep 2011 at 9:56 am
  2. Andy Cline wrote:

    Oooops… hit the publish button by accident. Will fix in a sec. Thanks for the link.

    Posted 23 Sep 2011 at 10:02 am
  3. Michael wrote:

    That’s quite the crash. I shared the video around.

    Posted 23 Sep 2011 at 5:31 pm
  4. robert wrote:

    “Door-zone bicycle lanes, such as the one on Benton, put bicyclists – usually novices — into this situation by fooling them into believing they are safe.”

    Otherwise, novices are right out there “taking the lane” right, Andy?

    Novices think they are safe, not because of bike lanes, but because they’ve never heard of (or thought about) the danger of car doors.

    Your argument would make more sense (to me) if you claimed that experienced bicyclists were in more danger because they will feel morally obligated, or even legally so, to use the bike lane when they otherwise would not be riding that close to the parked cars.

    The novices are either on the sidewalk or near the parked cars anyway, right?

    I don’t think that video even shows a bike lane. I’m not sure where this video is from, so I can’t my limited (American) perspective and figure out the paint schemes there. But the line that the bicyclist is riding down looks like a parking lane. At the beginning of the video there is a symbol in the middle of the traffic lane that looks like our American bike lane sign.

    Posted 24 Sep 2011 at 12:41 pm
  5. Andy Cline wrote:

    Robert… No claim has been made by me or anyone else that what you see in the video is a bicycle lane. It is a person riding too close to parked cars, which is a situation that can occur when a bicyclist uses a door-zone bicycle lane.

    Novices are NOT “right out there taking the lane.” I wish they were. And, also yes, they too often ride too close to parked cars without a lane to encourage them.

    I just don’t think we ought to be painting lanes that encourage them to ride too close to parked cars.

    I know that makes me a total radical 😉

    Posted 24 Sep 2011 at 6:46 pm
  6. robert wrote:

    A sincere willingness to not see people be injured doesn’t make you a “radical.” Going on a tirade against bike lanes and using lines of reasoning that you know aren’t accurate does.

    The line in your post about the bike lane putting “novices” in danger, when you know that’s where they would be riding anyway, just like in your video example.

    Combined with the fact that your own measurements on Benton showed that a bicyclist can be in that bike lane and be out of the door zone.

    Combined with this sentence, “…it’s only a matter of time.” As if every novice bicyclist on Benton was happily taking the lane before and now this evil bike lane has them all cruising the door zone.

    The novice riders are not in any greater danger now then they were before. An experienced bicyclist can ride towards the outside of the lane and be outside of the door zone. You understand all of that but wrote it anyway because it better fit your ideology.

    All of that is radical, isn’t it?

    Andy, your real beef with bike lanes is one about personal liberty rather than safety. You don’t want to be minimized and forced to use a 6′ strip when you feel that you should be able to use whatever piece of pavement you want. I can understand and respect that.

    I just wish you would own that and make it the focal point of your arguments, rather than safety, in cases where there is not a real safety hazard. Or at least no more of one then there was before someone painted a line in the road.

    For example, if the bike lane on Benton had been ten feet wide, you still would have called it a “door zone” bike lane.

    If there was not any parked cars along Benton, you still would have opposed it for other reasons, right?

    Posted 24 Sep 2011 at 8:07 pm
  7. Andy Cline wrote:

    Robert… I generally oppose bicycle lanes because 1) I do not want to ride in them, and 2) I am unable to figure out any reason for them, i.e. what traffic problem they solve. I believe them to be purely a means to a particular end in bicycle advocacy: encourage more participation. I do not buy into that agenda.

    Both of those reasons have very little persuasive punch in the fight against paint.

    Posted 24 Sep 2011 at 8:44 pm
  8. Khal Spencer wrote:

    You don’t have to have bike lanes present to see people riding too far right, so lets not get into a circular firing squad about this. We have enough good to do and we can’t do much good if we are shooting at each other instead of at the problems out there.

    Mandatory bike lane laws combined with door zone bike lanes certainly institutionalize the dangerous practice, and that indeed is a problem in some municipalities.

    But I’d simply have people watch the video and see for themselves. They can glean the right idea from the video, with or without paint stripes muddying the water. Thanks much to Andy and Keri for posting this. I downloaded a copy from Keri’s site and put it on my own.

    Posted 25 Sep 2011 at 1:59 pm