Santa Cruz County door prize merits mention in the police blotter

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel:

A 53-year-old Aptos man was riding eastbound in the bike lane on Soquel Drive when a man parked on the shoulder opened his car door and caused the cyclist to veer into a car that was stopped at a red light.

Full story here, including comments from the peanut gallery who go out of their way to absolve the motorist of any fault in spite of the clear text and meaning of CVC 22517:

No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open upon the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.

Still, the article confuses me. I know Soquel Drive very well, and there is no bike lane on eastbound Soquel at Porter Street. It’s super easy to take the middle of the lane here, but traffic frequently backs up at this location and I’m sure people do filter between street parking and stopped traffic on the street. The person who opened the door is still responsible for checking to ensure the way is clear, but I hope the cyclist now understands that filtering increases his risk.


  1. There is a bike lane just east of Porter, but that would not have resulted in someone veering into a car stopped for the light. The bike lane is too narrow to allow parking, so I don’t use it. You are right that there is no bike lane before Porter eastbound on Soquel—the only place where the rest of the description of the dooring makes any sense. The description also refers to the car being parked “on the shoulder” which does not make sense in that location—there is curb-side parking but no shoulder there.

  2. Here’s an example of what could be done to improve the safety of the block on Soquel Drive between Daubenbiss and Porter. In this diagram the parking spots on the south side of Soquel Drive are removed and parklets are installed. The driving lanes are narrowed to encourage speed reductions and to provide adequate space for wider bicycle lanes on both sides.

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