Matthew @ Streetsblog SF asks how he should educate doorzone cyclists, and in the comments he got a couple of “Huh? Doorzone? You mean ride out with traffic?” type of responses.
As a reminder: The doorzone is the area next to the car that can injure or kill you if a car occupant opens the door just as you pass by. Door flings open in your path, and *boom* you’re toast.
The fix is simple: ride outside of the doorzone — three feet away or so away from the car. Where available, the bike lane stripe provides a handy gauge — ride to the left of the stripe, and you should be safe from open doors. When a door flings open, it really doesn’t matter.
A common complaint: “I’ll get hit from behind!” Well, no, actually you won’t. A bonus of riding out in the lane is you’re more visible to drivers, and people driving their cars won’t try to edge around you.
Here’s a video of my biking along El Camino Real in (I think) Mountain View, CA. I’m biking well to the left of parked cars. I bike like this all the time and I’ve yet to be hit from behind. Speed limit is 35 MPH here. You’ll see, incidentally, the silver car edging by me a little closely before I’ve moved out into the lane.
I already anticipate the main complaint about this video — “I don’t bike that fast!” — so when I have a chance I’ll shoot video of the same thing of me cycling slowly on an old heavy three speed.
In this second video, a door opens in front of me while cycling on Bryant Avenue in Palo Alto. This is the famed Ellen Fletcher Bicycle Boulevard. Sorry for the lousy video quality, but I think you can see what happens. Note also the stop-sign running scofflaw motorist.