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"cars and buses will careen past like you're in the wrong part of the street."

Probably because you are. Ride faster or move over.
Posted by Reader01 on September 10, 2012 at 12:12 PM · Report this
rob! 2
How's your friend doing?
Posted by rob! on September 10, 2012 at 12:14 PM · Report this
People - it's really not hard to take five fucking seconds to look behind you before opening your door, bike lane or no bike lane. You live in a city with a lot of bikes - get in the habit.
Posted by johnjjeeves on September 10, 2012 at 12:14 PM · Report this
Rotten666 4
Ride under control and pay attention and you won't get doored. Every other day I'm in this exact situation. You know what I do? I stop. And then remind the driver to keep their eyes peeled for bikes when exiting their car.
Posted by Rotten666 on September 10, 2012 at 12:16 PM · Report this
@3: Indeed, it's even the law.
Posted by tiktok on September 10, 2012 at 12:23 PM · Report this
@3: Either physically separate lanes or just plain wider lanes are the only reasonable answers. People in a hurry or just not thinking are sometimes going to open their car doors without looking. Expecting otherwise, even with an education campaign, is unrealistic.
Posted by bigyaz on September 10, 2012 at 12:24 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 7
It's the parking lane that needs to be wider - wide enough that an open door couldn't reasonably intrude on the bike lane. Widen the streets.
Posted by Matt from Denver on September 10, 2012 at 12:27 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 8
reminding drivers not to haphazardly open their car doors
Don't bother.
Most people are so fucking lazy and/or braindead they don't even use their turn signals to signal their turns... an act that takes absolutely no effort whatsoever.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on September 10, 2012 at 12:29 PM · Report this
Rotten666 9
@6 Yes.

It is safer for bike riders to change their habits that it is to force the city to change it's habits. As much as that sucks, it is reality.
Posted by Rotten666 on September 10, 2012 at 12:30 PM · Report this
Dougsf 10
People can argue the human error component all they like, but car doors opening into bicycle traffic (as well as forcing cars to cross the bike lane to park) is flawed design. A better design would be to move street parking away from the curb, add a right side buffer for car doors, and reserve the rightmost lane for bicycles.
Posted by Dougsf on September 10, 2012 at 12:30 PM · Report this
tedb310 11
@4 Hate to show my age, but when I was a kid I remember all the PSA's for "Defensive Driving" that encouraged everyone to "watch out for the other guy". Unfortunately, that seems to be a forgotten concept. Everyone who uses the roads/highways/streets, whether on foot, bike or car should be doing that. I'm shocked at what I see people do now days.
Posted by tedb310 on September 10, 2012 at 12:32 PM · Report this
In Munich, the bike lanes are curbside. I kept standing in them while waiting to cross the street.
Posted by Pol Pot on September 10, 2012 at 12:38 PM · Report this
Fnarf 13
I could not possibly disagree more.

Segregated bike lanes are not only segregated from the cars. They are also segregated from the city. Streets are not just blank, blind conduits of vehicles; they are the place where cities actually take place. They are where the shops and offices and houses are. Streets are where the motion of life is, the marketplace of things and the marketplace of ideas. They are what distinguish cities from the featureless hallways and blank walls our city officials all to often want to replace them with.

Move bikes out of streets and onto segregated trails and you make BOTH worse. You force bikes into dead zones where nothing of interest can ever be allowed to take place; and you make the streets more like highways, where speeds increase and shops wither, where pedestrians fear to go. Amenities like mailboxes and trash cans (and bike racks!) get removed.

Look at your picture. That street is DEAD; it has no civic function. It is a wasteland where some cars park and other cars whizz past at 40 MPH, always on their way from someplace else to some other someplace else in the distance. That's not a city; it's a cryogenic chamber. It's a horror. Moving the bike lane to someplace else isn't going to change that; it's going to make it worse.

Cyclists belong in the street, along with everything else: pedestrians, benches, trash cans, shop fronts, parking spots, truck unloaders, taxi ranks, cafe tables, buskers, Jesus shouters, gawking tourists, people waiting to cross, people not waiting to cross, people stopping to chat or argue or conduct business, and people locking and unlocking their bicycles, too. If you move the cyclists out, none of those other things will ever or can ever happen.
Posted by Fnarf on September 10, 2012 at 12:41 PM · Report this
Fnarf 14
@10, no. Having ANY kind of moving vehicles at curbside makes the sidewalk too dangerous for pedestrians and other uses. Parked cars provide a buffer between moving vehicles and flesh and bone.
Posted by Fnarf on September 10, 2012 at 12:43 PM · Report this
Fnarf 15
@7 wider streets are a DISASTER. Seattle already has streets that are far too wide. Wide streets encourage speeding, and separate people uses from their counterparts across the street.
Posted by Fnarf on September 10, 2012 at 12:46 PM · Report this
@10: do that, and watch what happens to the rate at which drivers turn left or right and plow into cyclists. Drivers are finally getting used to checking the bike lane, putting a column of cars between them and the people they're trying to look out for isn't going to help.
Posted by doceb on September 10, 2012 at 12:46 PM · Report this
@6 - you have to start somewhere. While you guys are waiting for the multi-million dollar infrastructure improvements that pretty much every city in the country is two decades overdue for, I'll be doing my best not to kill somebody every time I open my car door. In the meantime, pray for a Works Progress Administration type program to provide actual stimulus to the people who weren't giant banks or failing corporations.
Posted by johnjjeeves on September 10, 2012 at 12:46 PM · Report this
Kinison 18
Cars, scooters and motor cyclists face the same risk of car doors suddenly opening, while some might complain, they clearly dont get the same amount of attention that cyclists bitch and moan about.

Separating the traffic with a concrete barrier, just so cyclist can feel safe, will be very expensive and will probably eliminate the parking spots that run along the sidewalk, which if done in a residential area, will piss off many home owners. Drivers will either vote down or overturn any law that forces them to pay higher car tabs to fund such an expensive project. Plus theres the fact that if traffic is slow in the bike lane, then cyclists will jump to the sidewalk or normal traffic, ignoring the lane that was built just for them that nobody else has the right to use.

One thing I know about cyclists on Pike, Pine & Broadway is that some DO NOT tolerate anything that slows them down. Buses, other cars, red lights, stop signs, pedestrians, etc. Cyclists earned the right to use the road, so they should honestly use it and stop complaining about all the dangers, because it becomes a massive "No Shit Sherlock" moment from everyone.
Posted by Kinison on September 10, 2012 at 12:47 PM · Report this
Fnarf 19
@6, wider lanes = much faster driving. Not a good way to increase bike safety.
Posted by Fnarf on September 10, 2012 at 12:53 PM · Report this
@12 I am not a big fan of the Munich system. It shifts the conflict to between bicycles and pedestrians. As a pedestrian I kept feeling like I was going to get hit and as a bicyclist I had to slow down to deal with pedestrians. I would ride in the street regardless. In terms of traffic safety and flow it is better for vehicles of about the same speed to be together. It was just easier politically for the Munich government to take the space from pedestrians instead of cars. It is not because it is safer.
Posted by SantiagoFan on September 10, 2012 at 12:53 PM · Report this
In Holland and Denmark they teach you in Driver's Ed to look for bikers before opening your door.
Posted by michael bell on September 10, 2012 at 12:54 PM · Report this
My bike commute takes me from Ballard/Loyal Heights to Georgetown and the difference in bike infrastructure and driver attitude between the half of my commute north of downtown and the half south of downtown is striking. South of downtown there is little to no infrastructure, few cyclists, and plenty of freight, bus, and car traffic that doesn't give a damn about me, the cyclist. Every day I come home with a new story for my husband, to the point where now that I'm pregnant he discourages me from riding to work, which I really miss.
The infrastructure is important, but so is driver education. We all learn a smattering of rules in driver's ed and when we take our exam to get our licenses, and then that's the last time we think about it (we as drivers, I mean). The result is a staggering amount of ignorance as to how bikes and cars interact in the eyes of the law. We absolutely need better and more comprehensive bike infrastructure throughout the city--north and south of downtown--if we want to get more folks on their bikes. But we also need to figure out a way to educate both cyclists and non-cyclists about the rules of the road.
Incidentally, sharrows are NOT a bike lane but mark a street that is heavily used by cyclists but where there is not enough road width for a full bike lane and where cars and bikes are to share the lane. They do NOT mean you ride between the line of parked cars and the lane of moving traffic. "Taking the lane", i.e. riding more in the middle of the lane of traffic, is far safer than riding on the edge where cars try and squeeze past you without moving over.
Posted by LS on September 10, 2012 at 12:58 PM · Report this
I've never encountered a problem with almost being doored. Maybe the solution is to not go hurling along in the bike lane as fast as you can. A bike is a flimsy little thing. One wrong move and you are toast.

@20 This isn't just the situation in Munich but seems to be the case in most of Europe, or northern Europe anyway. No one rides in the streets and therefore drivers are not especially aware of bicyclists. When I was just in Berlin I was nearly creamed several times while walking by bikes flying past in very poorly marked bike lanes, often just a different kind of brick on the sidewalk. Not a better system I would say.
Posted by Rhizome on September 10, 2012 at 1:03 PM · Report this
raku 24
13: Nobody (hopefully) is talking about bike trails like Burke-Gilman. Physically separated bike lanes are like 2nd sidewalks, part of the street, just much safer and faster for bikes. They exist all over the world, including on Broadway when the streetcar is done next year. Bikes will become the fastest way to go down Broadway - faster than driving or the streetcar.
Posted by raku on September 10, 2012 at 1:05 PM · Report this

I always ride on the sidewalk if I can...but I live in the suburbs and almost no one uses the its like having my own grade separated lane.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on September 10, 2012 at 1:22 PM · Report this
Bob Anderton 26
I am a Bike Lawyer and a daily bicyclist and I agree with Mr. Holden. While bike lanes are of limited help, at least they clarify that cars must yield to bicyclists in them. Sharrows mean nothing. Same paint, less law.

Doorings are a serious issue and drivers seemed to be shocked, shocked I tell you, that they have a duty to look before opening their doors. Passengers have this same duty, and if most drivers are oblivious to bicyclists, their passengers are even less aware.

The Seattle Municipal Code states:

No person shall enter, leave, or open the door of a motor vehicle on the side adjacent to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle adjacent to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers. SMC 11.58.050.

If you don’t want to door bicyclists, make it a habit to open car doors with your opposite hand. This makes you turn your head and naturally look. Please look.
Posted by Bob Anderton on September 10, 2012 at 1:23 PM · Report this
DOUG. 27
The real problem with that bike lane isn't the door zone, it's the hideous condition of the asphalt. I wish Seattle's drivers would start paying their fair share so we could afford to keep our roadways well-paved.
Posted by DOUG. on September 10, 2012 at 1:27 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 28
It's not like the city road grid was originally built for bicyclists and horses with carriages.

... oh ... wait ...
Posted by Will in Seattle on September 10, 2012 at 1:29 PM · Report this
badstone 29
here in Philly people use our curbside bike lanes as jogging paths, taxi pickup/dropoff, parking for delivery trucks and moving vans, turn lanes... never even mind bicycle delivery people going the wrong way against traffic. since the traffic is only going about 20mph on narrow streets, I often feel safer speeding along with the cars than weaving around constantly changing obstacles.
Posted by badstone on September 10, 2012 at 1:29 PM · Report this
I ride alongside the left line, and keep my eye on every parked car's side-view mirrors and brake lights. I've never been doored in 25 years of urban commuting (knock on wood, please), but I've had a handful of close calls.

Bikers need to always assume drivers are going to kill them and be extra vigilant. Drivers should get in the habit of glancing in their side view mirrors, and slowly opening their doors before stepping out, whether there is a bike lane or not. Even if you hate drivers or hate cyclists, it's not worth the consequences (dead or gravely injured cyclists) of being careless just to prove a point.
Posted by mitten on September 10, 2012 at 1:33 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 31
Any cyclist who gets doored is going too fast, or not paying attention, and definitely riding too close to the cars.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on September 10, 2012 at 1:44 PM · Report this
If bike riders stopped treating bile lanes like they are a course on the Tour de France they wouldnt run into doors. As a motorcycle safety instructor we teach riders to look ahead and anticipate. Assume when you see someone in a car they may open the door and they might not see you. You cant do that head down racing along like Lance Armstrong. Yeah motororists have a duty. But its your life and limb. You need to ride aware.
Posted by HMRBEAR on September 10, 2012 at 1:45 PM · Report this
what the penalty for drivers who do this?
Posted by Seattle14 on September 10, 2012 at 2:00 PM · Report this
Dominic Holden 34
@31) That's not true. If you're riding in a bike lane between a row of parked cars on the right and moving traffic on the left--traveling at a safe speed--there can be no way to avoid a door that flies open. A bike traveling at a reasonable speed can't stop in 10 feet, so the cyclist isn't moving "too fast." And it's not that they are "not paying attention," they just can't use the power of their mind to move cars on either side.

Can you back up your comment at all?
Posted by Dominic Holden on September 10, 2012 at 2:01 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 35
@ 15, if the PARKING LANE is wider but the other lanes remain the same width, that would not come true.

But then, you have a very fixed notion of what a city "is." And if you think Seattle has "wide streets," that's almost as bad as the time Comte claimed Denver's traffic was just as bad as Seattle's.
Posted by Matt from Denver on September 10, 2012 at 2:16 PM · Report this
@31 so people in cars have no responsible? Sorry, but the issue of safety is not all on one party. Both people need to be more aware.
Posted by CbytheSea on September 10, 2012 at 2:16 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 37
I can't even conceive of flinging a door wide open. Not even taking bicyclists into account, I would never trust Seattle drivers not to travel close enough to rip the door off, especially drivers of monstrous trucks and SUVs.
Posted by keshmeshi on September 10, 2012 at 2:22 PM · Report this
Rotten666 38
@34 People sitting in a car is usually a good indicator that someone might open up a door. React accordingly.

@36 If you ride with the assumption that drivers will follow the rules of the road you are dead fucking meat.

Pretty simple stuff people.
Posted by Rotten666 on September 10, 2012 at 2:23 PM · Report this
If only getting doored was the only problem My friend got hit by a car recently because the driver thought they could beat her. This was downhill on Dexter so my friend was easily going 30+ mph, while maybe the car sped up to 40-45, then merged into the bike lane to try to get to a parking spot. So my friend did not have the time to break and had to bail off her bike, hitting a parked car. Her bike was totaled but luckily, she was not seriously injured. This happens a lot with cars trying to reach the corner to turn right as well. They speed up to get to the corner, not thinking about how they then have to slow down to take the turn, or how a bike is going approximately the same speed. It doesn't leave them, the biker, enough time to break. In my 11 years of driving, I've never gotten in a car accident, but I can promise you that NONE of this was covered in my driver's ed class.
Posted by kk826 on September 10, 2012 at 2:28 PM · Report this
Fnarf 40
@38, you can't tell, because everybody's got dark tinted windows now. It's just about impossible to tell if someone's sitting in the driver's seat nowadays.

@35, Seattle has extremely wide streets. I can't help it if you are too stupid to understand that. Our city was platted that way, in the Western mode, and there's nothing that can be done about it now.

@28, another classic from Will in Seattle -- "Seattle's streets were laid out for bicycles". The funny thing is that I know exactly what you're referring to, and you don't understand it any more than than you understand anything, that is to say "not at all".
Posted by Fnarf on September 10, 2012 at 2:36 PM · Report this
Bike lanes like bike helmets give the bike rider a false sense of security.
Posted by Weekilter on September 10, 2012 at 2:43 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 42
One benefit to my arthritis is that my heavy car door will always open slowly.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on September 10, 2012 at 2:44 PM · Report this
I can't believe we're 41 comments in and no one has pointed out the GIANT GOUGE in the street pavement that runs down the middle of the bike lane and is exactly the width of a bike tire. I can tell you from personal commuting experience that it runs the length of union from 18th to 14th and keeping out of it while not getting doored on the right or pancaked from the left makes that whole downhill stretch additionally exciting.
Posted by union biker on September 10, 2012 at 2:50 PM · Report this
@38 I ride and drive with the assumption that everyone is talking on their cell phones. When people act like a dipshit, I get mad but that's all I can honestly do. But Blaming just one party is dumb and that's why I pointed it out old Phoebe there.
Posted by CbytheSea on September 10, 2012 at 2:58 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 45
@ 40, That's your idea of "wide?" Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.....

The best thing about these opinions of yours, Fnarf, is that they're based on no practical experience whatsoever. Stick to computer reports, or whatever it is you do for a living.
Posted by Matt from Denver on September 10, 2012 at 3:03 PM · Report this
TVDinner 46
Matt, Fnarf is absolutely right about his comments on wide streets. He knows his shit when it comes to urban design. I know my shit, and I don't know half the shit Fnarf knows. And I have a fucking masters degree in this shit. So step back, son, before you embarrass yourself further.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on September 10, 2012 at 3:35 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 47
@ 46, Okay then. School me if you know so much. By what measure is the street (a typical Seattle street) in the picture "wide"? Are we talking 1920s? 1950s? Because I can tell you now, as someone who uses the streets in all manners (driver, pedestrian, cyclist) that Seattle's streets are NARROW.

You see, as time goes on, things change. Most of Seattle was laid out when families owned one car (if any), everyone worked downtown, and 30 mph was considered "speeding." Try biking anywhere in Capitol Hill today. Yes, some of the thoroughfares are relatively wide (when you compare them to the side streets), but the sheer volume of traffic makes traversing them a claustraphobic experience even in a Geo Metro. (And I know - I used to have a Geo Metro when I lived in Seattle.)

But go ahead - PLEASE tell me how "wide" the streets are. Tell me that the solution is to keep swimming against the stream and not acknowledging that people drive, and will always drive as long as there's oil to be had, and will find a way to keep cars running when oil starts to run out. If only you just never change the streets, people will just magically give up and change their habits instead.
Posted by Matt from Denver on September 10, 2012 at 4:54 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 48
You could ride your bike slow enough so that you have time to stop when the car door opens. Then we could have a discussion about Doing Something so bikes can ride faster.

Framing this as if bicyclists are powerless victims with no choice but getting doored is dishonest. Bicyclists have the option to slow down. They just don't want to.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on September 10, 2012 at 7:16 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 49

ADV and commuter motorcyclists look at every crash, or potential crash, as something that the rider can control. They don't care what they other guy did wrong. They only care about what the rider can do to prevent the accident. They're goal isn't to assign blame. Their goal is to never go down. Never.

Bicycle activists, they're like Harley riders. Like ABATE. They see every crash as some driver's fault. They want to ride along with their head in the clouds and every time one of them gets killed, they cynically use the dead rider as a poster child to try to punish drivers in some new way. They run from personal responsibility and embrace recrimination.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on September 10, 2012 at 7:24 PM · Report this
johnjjeeves @3. Accidents happen. I regularly peddle to work. And a few months ago running errands in Ballard I almost tagged a cyclist with my door. Totally my fault. I felt terrible. Dude jawed at me and I just took it, because my bad. I'm glad he was paying attention. And it reminded me to also pay attention.
Posted by Jason Osgood on September 10, 2012 at 7:30 PM · Report this
@47: Matt stop being so damned obtuse. You know full well Fnarf is not talking about the side streets of the Hill (or any other neighborhood). He's talking about the streets that the city commutes on, whether by car, bus or bike. And yes, they are wide. Western style wide. Maybe not as wide as some other western/newer cities, but much wider than is typical in eastern/older cities. Washington DC is an east coast outlier, but you can trace that to the way it was designed.

I get the feeling that you're just trying to pick a fight here.
Posted by gnossos on September 10, 2012 at 7:42 PM · Report this
I love the bike lanes in my neighborhood in Nishinomiya, Japan. There are four lanes of traffic bordered on each side by a small metal fence and a little hedge, then the bike lane, then the sidewalk. Everyone's got their own spot. I guess it's the lack of on-street parking that makes this possible - if you want to park, you have to find a parking lot, where you're not likely to door anyone.
Posted by ridia on September 10, 2012 at 8:16 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 53
@ 51, I made a simple suggestion about widening the parking lane while leaving the bike and traffic lanes at their current width. Go back and read the comments, and rell me who's picking a fight here.
Posted by Matt from Denver on September 10, 2012 at 10:25 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 54
Edit: TELL me who's picking a fight. (Hell, tell me Fnarf wasn't being obtuse when he responded to that suggestion in the manner that he did.)
Posted by Matt from Denver on September 10, 2012 at 10:28 PM · Report this
@53 and 54: in @7 you said: "Widen the streets", which Fnarf rightly called out as dumb idea.

The first part of your @7 had to do w/the lanes, which I'm agnostic on. But widening the streets is wrong. I'm not anti-car per se, but I do think making it harder to drive (and drive fast in particular) is just common sense in urban areas. Especially if you want lively, dense, and pedestrian/bike friendly urban areas.
Posted by gnossos on September 10, 2012 at 11:32 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 56
@18- When a car gets doored, the door loses badly. Trust me, I doored a car once.

A scooter or motorcycle isn't segregated into the section of road which gets almost entirely taken up by an opening car door.

Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on September 10, 2012 at 11:42 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 57
@13- I'm looking at that picture, and it's not in an urban core at all. Do a google image search for segregated bike lanes and you'll find some on vibrant streets, or as vibrant as a street can be that is three car lanes wide.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on September 10, 2012 at 11:52 PM · Report this
raku 58
49- Durrrr. Motorcycles go in roads with other vehicles in separated lanes going the same speed as them. That's exactly what bicyclists want. Ride your motorcycle in bike lanes touching car doors or roads filled with Hummers going 3x as fast as you, and then you can whine about personal responsibility.
Posted by raku on September 10, 2012 at 11:54 PM · Report this
#22, I live north of downtown, and trust me, I don't give a flying fuck whether you or any other bicyclist lives or dies. I'm sick and tired of your arrogance, your constant breaking of the law, and of your habit of making demands without wanting to pay a single goddamned cent of vehicle taxes on your precious bike. So fuck you, fuck your bike, and fuck that mayor who you love and who we are going to toss out on his fat ass next year.
Posted by Wing It on September 11, 2012 at 1:17 AM · Report this
p.s. #22, if you "take the lane," you'd better be damn sure that there are people around to see what happens next.
Posted by Wing It on September 11, 2012 at 1:25 AM · Report this
#27, you should wish that Seattle's bicyclists pay their fair share.
Posted by Wing It on September 11, 2012 at 1:42 AM · Report this
I do sympathize with bike riders, but you need to understand that a car (much less as bus) cannot maneuver as well as a bicycle. You also need to understand that there are visibility disadvantages in a vehicle. You need to ride in a way that allows you to be seen. Not in a this is my lane too way crossing in front of vehicles. I have seen great bike riders and also ones that are really taking chances out there. Guess it is up to you.
Posted by CGM on September 11, 2012 at 2:16 AM · Report this
Oh and also, if you bicyclist could rally for a bike bridge from West Seattle to Downtown and win; I'd so be on your side.
Posted by CGM on September 11, 2012 at 2:30 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 64
@ 55, I said widen the streets for the parking lane. Is that really obscured by the way I closed @7?

Anyway, urban policy in places like Seattle HAS been to make it harder to drive, at least via inaction on growing congestion. Has that done anything to encourage biking? Or are people (even the enlightened denizens of Capitol Hill) still buying SUV's and making trips of less than a mile in them?
Posted by Matt from Denver on September 11, 2012 at 6:17 AM · Report this
The people who door cyclists are oblivious to their surroundings at best. There might be a select few sociopaths who do it maliciously, but I'd imagine most who do it just aren't paying attention to anyone but themselves. It's a sad reality.

Back when I rode regularly my strategy was always to try and look through the windows ahead to see if motorists were sitting in the left side... an indication that someone may be about to throw their door open.
Posted by Gomez on September 11, 2012 at 11:12 AM · Report this
40. As a pedestrian who's looked through a lot of car windows, I can attest that while some are tinted most aren't. Even with tinted windows you can see through many... if it's deeply tinted enough to not see, just presume there's someone possibly in the driver's side seat and tread accordingly.

Basically, take it slow and with caution when passing parked cars. Cycling on urban streets is a dangerous practice that requires a great deal of caution in any case.
Posted by Gomez on September 11, 2012 at 11:16 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 67

Well you really showed me didn't you? Now get out there and ride in the door zone as fast as you can! Because you're right! Being right is what it's all about.

(Buy some health insurance, OK?)
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on September 11, 2012 at 12:13 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 68
@59- You're an idiot and a coward. You may have noticed (as I do) that there's a large chunk of automobile drivers who ignore the rules whenever they can get away with it, speeding, rolling stop signs, making illegal turns, merging stupidly... But you don't have any animus towards them because you are one of them. You think of life as a team sport and you're team has cars. So fuck you, you (probably) fat, (certainly) stupid windbag.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on September 11, 2012 at 1:36 PM · Report this
I'm a daily bike commuter, and personally I route myself to avoid riding next to parked cars, which adds a mile or so to my commute, and isn't practical for most people.

When I do ride down something like, 24th Avenue into Ballard, I brake the whole way (without braking, you'll get up to 25-30mph depending on your pedaling and the wind conditions) to keep my speed at no more than 20mph. That's the limit at which I feel comfortable that I can reliably scan the densely parked cars back windows to determine if there's anyone in the driver's seat who might be about to open their door. Tinting works against you (there's a lot of this), the B and C pillars work against you as you approach at an oblique angle, and Seattle's dim light during commuting hours in the grey months also works against you.

Even with all that, and your lights blinking to alert drivers (who are required by law to verify that it's safe for them to open their door), it's a bit tricky. People open doors quickly, and on a downhill, frequently damp street, stopping power is curtailed. Plus you have to worry about another cyclist bombing past you, completely unannounced, on the your left if you need to get a little more distance from the parked cars.

My advice is to avoid crowded downhill streets on a bike.
Posted by tiktok on September 11, 2012 at 3:36 PM · Report this
wilbur@work 70
What 4 and Fnarf said. Asking The Stupid to change their habits is insane. Seattle drivers are statistically some of the worst in the nation, and that won't ever improve.

We're still in the behavior modification phase of this project, which means cyclists have to remove their head from their ass and do their best to stay alive FIRST, then do what they can to help educate The Stupid.
Posted by wilbur@work on September 12, 2012 at 12:15 PM · Report this
funnylittlemunki 71
My mom gave me a piece of advice, which she got from being a motorcycle driver… Ride as if you are completely invisible. Pretend none of the cars or other bikes can see you, because they probably don't. Don't assume people are looking out for you, giving you the right of way, respecting the bike lane. Ride "invisible" and defensive and you'll be safer. And ya, it makes me slower, but I've never been in an incident with a car yet.
Posted by funnylittlemunki on September 12, 2012 at 4:42 PM · Report this
#68, yeah I am a windbag, an idiot, and a coward. I am the spawn of Satan, and (worse yet) a Republican. I drive an S.U.V., and I smoke cigars and use a cellphone while I am driving. Did I mention the quarter-pounder with cheese? I listen to classic rock. I speed, I roll through stop signs. I live in a single-family house with a lawn. I refuse to pay $5 for a cupcake.

But guess what? I've got 3,000 pounds on you. So watch out.
Posted by Wing It on September 12, 2012 at 7:56 PM · Report this
#69, just so you know, we HATE those blinking lights.
Posted by Wing It on September 12, 2012 at 7:58 PM · Report this
@73 I hate crossing guards and school zones. Guess what?
Posted by tiktok on September 13, 2012 at 7:28 AM · Report this
@70, "Seattle drivers are statistically some of the worst in the nation" According to what statistic? The 2012 Allstate list doesn't have Seattle in the top 25 (…)
Posted by sanotehu on September 13, 2012 at 7:14 PM · Report this
so what do you do when a bus almost takes you over and then when you confront them they yelled at you and tell you to "shut up!, did I hit you? are you in the ground?, no? then Shut up!" Then you call Metro to complaint and then 2 months later you have not heard a word from them about what actions they took against the bus driver?
Posted by bicicleta on September 26, 2012 at 2:47 PM · Report this

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