Bronx cyclist doored, killed by bus

A 57 year old woman riding her bike was doored and flung into the path of a bus Wednesday morning.

The unidentified woman was cycling down Crotona Avenue this morning when a driver of a 2005 Toyota Camry opened the door right into her, throwing the cyclist directly into the path of a southbound BX17, according to the New York Daily News. Condolences to the cyclist, her family and those he knew her.

And now for the rant.

This part in the Daily News article especially ticks me off: “Cops issued the unidentified driver of the Camry a summons, though it was not immediately clear why.” How about New York vehicle & traffic code Section 1214?

Opening and closing vehicle doors. No person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonable safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic.

Don’t these morons know it’s ILLEGAL TO OPEN YOUR DOOR INTO TRAFFIC LIKE THAT? At least the News doesn’t report this as an “accident.”

If you, as a motorist, ever wonder why “entitled, selfish, inconsiderate” cyclists ride way out into the lane, this dooring incident is a prime example of why. It’s illegal to open the door into the path of any vehicle (including a cyclist), but I see people opening their doors adjacent to me almost every day I ride in traffic. I’d be dead or maimed if I rode in the door zone, so suck it up as I take the lane in front of you. My safety trumps your convenience in any system of ethics.

This NY1 article suggests bike lanes as a solution to the dooring problem, but many bike lanes are perfect door zone indicators.

If you don’t care about the cyclists, then consider it good for your own well being as well. Losing a hand to a bus can’t be fun.

Read Riin’s Door Zone Project for more examples.

10 Comments

  • Andy
    March 17, 2010 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I get honked at once in a while for riding in the lane, but not loosing several decades off my life seems like a much bigger concern than being held up by a cyclist for 5 seconds.

  • March 17, 2010 - 1:15 pm | Permalink

    I avoid passing cyclists who are in the door zone for this very reason. I'm not commenting on the bus driver's actions in this story since I really don't understand the situation. Ugh… Either way, it's a tragedy.

    I wrote a blog entry on this subject. It details what happens when 20 tons of bus meets the hand and door of a driver opening their door into traffic. Not pretty: http://velobusdriver.wordpress.com/2009/10/15/f

  • March 17, 2010 - 1:49 pm | Permalink

    @BusDriver: I occasionally hear about a Santa Cruz bus that “catches a door.” The bus drivers stay outside the door zone if they can like you, but Santa Cruz streets are pretty narrow as well. I'll add the link to your post.

  • sour
    March 17, 2010 - 3:58 pm | Permalink

    This is distressing on multiple levels.
    The death of the cyclist could have been prevented if any ONE of the three drivers involved had been doing what they should have.

    First – the cyclist should not have been riding in the door zone. I don't know if there was a bike lane painted in the road to encourage this foolish behaviour, if the car was not up against the curb or what – but the cyclist should not have been that close to the car.

    Second is that one clearly expects the car driver to look before opening the door. As was pointed out, this is not only stupid and careless, but illegal.

    Finally, one expects a higher level of competence from a bus driver. Bus drivers are professionals, and you would think that they would provide additional clearance to cyclists riding in the door zone.

  • evie
    March 17, 2010 - 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Horrifying. We can't ride in the door zone. We just can't. It's like Russian Roulette.

    Even riding all the way over the right in a non-parking situation is a problem, imho. If you are close to the gutter, trying to be generous or considerate to drivers, they'll pass you as if you do not exist, taking 100% of the lane for themselves and nearly killing you with a sideswipe.

    Take the lane. Not the whole lane, of course, but enough of it for drivers to know you are there and that Yes, they do need to move to the left a bit to avoid you.

    I'm so sad for this cyclist and her family.

  • March 18, 2010 - 5:47 am | Permalink

    Re: bystanders wanting bike lanes to be installed: It looks from Google Maps like there is no extra width for bike lanes, except … IN THE DOOR ZONE! So that would be even further encouragement to bicyclists to ride in it. I think that would increase danger more than any effect of “reminding” motorists to look before opening their doors would decrease it. No good.

  • sour
    March 18, 2010 - 6:57 am | Permalink

    I am not a huge advocate of bike lanes, partially because of this, but I wonder why it is that when city planners are looking at how to use a street, on street parking is usually given a higher priority than accommodation of bicycles. Isn't the purpose of the street to provide a transit corridor, not as storage space for private vehicles?

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  • Khalid
    March 18, 2010 - 9:21 pm | Permalink

    This is so sad and I have G-d Help and Protection on my for her. Respect and consideration is for everyone but especially for G-d. Freedom of speech and religion is never allowed by prejudice and selfish people who just want control over what they want for themselves. Bad reverse psychology really needs to stop.

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