Nice animation showing how wide the bike lane really is.

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.
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14 Responses:

  1. J says:

    Wow. It doesn't really look that small to begin with, but I see your point. I've always casually biked around DC, but never really commuted until very recently. Dooring wasn't a big fright for me since I was typically going at off-peak hours, but it's *frightening* at rush hour. Also annoying: people who open their doors and just leave them open for 30+ seconds while they climb out of the car. DC/Arlington has narrower bike lanes, and one door can cut all the way through them.

  2. Joe Crawford says:

    I couldn't find it, googling, but I read sometime in the last few months that in some Scandinavian country they actually teach you to look back, when you take off your seat belt, and before opening your door -- the intent of the look is to check for bicycles before opening your door, in exactly this scenario. I don't remember anything in driving school about thinking of bikes except "bike lanes -- they exist."

    • ix says:

      When I learned to drive (in Belgium) they taught me always to reach for the door handle with my right hand instead of my left. This way, you automatically turn your body and you'll be more likely to remember to check for bikers. It's a good habit to get into, IMHO.

      • Joe Crawford says:

        I completely misremembered.

        Thanks for the correction!

        • ix says:

          I'm sure variations exist all over, so maybe you didn't misremember at all. I just thought I'd share with other drivers. I always thought it was a neat behavioural modification trick.

          Since cycling is pretty popular in Belgium, drivers usually have some experience as cyclists so people are well aware of the risk. That doesn't seem to stop accidents happening much though. In fact I'd be willing to bet that American cyclists are a lot safer, simply by virtue of being on wider roads with generally less aggressive traffic (though this seems to differ city to city).

    • Adam says:

      Yup, in Scandinavia everybody is taught to not open a cardoor without checking that you don't kill a cyclist in the process.

      Bikes are abundant and cars are really expensive here (Denmark has a 180% tax on new cars. Yes, you pay an extra 1.8 times the price in tax.)

  3. kkrv says:

    Bike lanes are just a horrible idea. Drivers and bikers need to learn to share the real traffic lane in an emergent way, or the road is simply not suitable for bike traffic.

    • Art Delano says:

      You appear to propose that either all motor traffic get used to a practical speed limit of 12 miles per hour, or that bikes be banned from roadways. Neither one of those options is going to happen.

    • Adam A. says:

      The real world...have you ever visited it?

    • Owen says:

      My regular commute takes me from a city with plentiful bike lanes (Cambridge, MA) to one with none (Boston). In one city I can go at my own pace, watch out for people making righthand turns, and generally relax. In the other, I'm constantly checking behind me for psycho cabs, picking my lanes extremely carefully, and generally sweating bullets. Want to guess which one is which?

  4. Dennis R says:

    Yeah thats mega scary.. In Denmark, there are generally curbs between the bike lane and cars, and aside from encroachment, it also makes people less likely to swing their door out..

    Sometimes i feel stupid for moving from the states to Denmark. but living in a city where i can safely ride with my kids makes up for a lot.. can you imagine living in a city where the traffic lights are optimized for cycles instead of cars?

    short video on biking in copenhagen

  5. pavel_lishin says:

    When I'm commuting by bike, I go from Brooklyn to basically Times Square. Dooring isn't as scary as random tourists suddenly diving into the bike lane to get that perfect shot of their fat cousin giving a thumbs up to a homeless man.

  6. Peter Huesken says:

    30+ years of riding my bike in Amsterdam gave me a (sixth?) car door sense; that and peering into each and every car to notice /any/ movement. Have hit the inside of a door or three nevertheless.
    The real size of the bike lane however is:

    A real help to bikers would be this Hyundai (although I fear that this car will sell as a Blackberry Playbook...)
    http://devour.com/video/hyundai-cheats-death/

  7. B says:

    Here in Austria they teach to look into the driver-side mirror, if it looks clear to turn around (open w/ the right hand as ix said), and open the door a bit, take a direct look back through the slightly open door and only then open fully and exit.

    People still don't give a shit. I ran into "suddenly, door!" at least twice and an ex gf once crashed into a door that opened so suddenly that she had enough momentum for a full somersault.

    Often, I just cycle on the sidewalk and pass the problem on down to the pedestrians. So yeah.