GETTING “DOORED” ON A BICYCLE

 By Larry Glickfeld

 

Any bike rider knows that, as healthy an activity as cycling is, it can also be hazardous to your health.

As opposed to the mostly self-imposed crashes while mountain biking on backcountry trails, we tend to be far more exposed to the whims and inattention of others on city streets and highways. This is especially so in this day and age when drivers too often have their eyes glued to their smartphones.

While most experienced road cyclists tend to be well aware of their surroundings, I’ve often noted riders aren’t as tuned in when riding along a roadway or bike lane beside a row of parked cars.

Cyclists need to be aware that vehicle doors can swing open with no warning. And riding into an open metal door at 15- 25 mph is the same as running into a concrete wall.

While it may be possible to watch for drivers or passengers in the vehicle, with all the other distractions out there, it would be best to leave at least a car door’s width between yourself and the vehicle at all times. Of course that ideal defense mechanism can become a bit complicated when there is also traffic, but the cyclist may just have to slow down a bit or swing out and “take the road” as necessary.

Additionally, use of a mirror on your helmet or handlebars can help bikers avoid having to turn their heads, which is asking for trouble in any situation.

True, this tends to be more of a big city problem  — it was especially noticeable to me when I was riding with a small group along the bike lanes of Seattle – but we’re certainly not immune from this situation here in Wenatchee. Not only is getting “doored” no fun, but it can put you out of action for months or worse.

Another article for you to read if you are interested in learning more about getting “doored”.

Larry Glickfeld is a member of the Wenatchee Valley Velo club and has been cycling regularly for some 55 years.   

 

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One Response

  1. Charles Hickenbottom

    I have ridden city streets for decades, using my bicycle mostly for commuting and shopping. I will echo and elaborate on some of Larry’s comments written above. I highly recommended the use of a mirror while riding. Knowing what’s coming up behind you is important. Plus, you are subtly communicating to a motorist that you are aware of his/her presence. I ride 4-6 feet to the left of parked cars. This space will give you enough of a cushion to avoid hitting a car door and/or a person suddenly getting out of a vehicle without having to swerve. Motorists generally don’t drive close to parked cars, and neither should a bicyclist. Some motorists will pass a bicyclist while trying to stay in the traveled lane, rather than moving into the oncoming lane. If you see that situation in your mirror, you have a little extra space on your right to avoid a close call.

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