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Monday, July 9, 2012

Please Be Careful Opening Your Car Door on Busy Streets

Posted by on Mon, Jul 9, 2012 at 10:19 AM

A sharrow lane on Capitol Hill.
  • DH
  • A "sharrow" lane on Capitol Hill.
My friend went to the hospital last night. He was carted off to Harborview Medical Center yesterday after riding his bicycle in a "sharrow" lane—a space between traffic and the parked cars where some paint suggests drivers and cyclists "share" the lane—at about 15 to 20 miles per hour. The door of a parked car flew open, directly into his path, and my friend hit the car door full speed. There was no way to slow down, nowhere to turn. My friend is in stable condition, but he suffered considerable injury to his abdomen.

He didn't break any traffic rules. He was just riding where cyclists are supposed to ride on every street—in that channel between the cars lanes and parked cars. And the driver didn't do anything wrong, exactly, except not look to see if a cyclist was coming. Now my friend is facing upwards of $5,000 in medical bills. "Getting doored" is common enough that it's happened to five or six people I know in the last few years.

There's no real solution except to say: Be careful, drivers, and open your doors slowly after checking to make sure no one is coming. There's literally nothing a cyclist can do in that situation to avoid a car door when he or she is pinned between traffic on the left and a row of parked cars on the right.

And City Hall, when people talk about building protected bicycle lanes—physically separated from traffic—it's not because they fetishize Europe. It's basic infrastructure that serves public safety.

 

Comments (62) RSS

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echochamber 1
I'm really sorry to hear about your friend. Drivers, seriously, check your mirrors or you'll do this to somebody and you are liable for their bills and the lifetime of guilt.
Posted by echochamber on July 9, 2012 at 10:24 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 2
Are drivers current liable when this happens? (And get well soon, abonymous friend of Dominic.)
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 9, 2012 at 10:28 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 3
In before the War on Cars, Battle of the Abdomen opens.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://twitter.com/joeszi on July 9, 2012 at 10:29 AM · Report this
sikandro 4
Barely dodged one of these situations last week. I got lucky there were no cars in the driving lane. Best of luck to your friend.
Posted by sikandro on July 9, 2012 at 10:31 AM · Report this
5
Normally I am not a fan of the general attitude bikers have on the hill, but this sucks and it only has to almost happen to you once (either as a biker or a driver) before you're really careful about it.

I know I look in my mirrors and blind spot several times while signalling when pulling away from any curb, and I always glance back before opening the door after parking.

There really is nothing the biker can do if you door them, and it's totally your fault, and it really sucks for the biker and your car's door.
Posted by Swearengen on July 9, 2012 at 10:32 AM · Report this
badstone 6
its one thing when drivers won't move over to the side for bikers, drive in the bike lane to get around stopped traffic, or cruise right over the middle of a dotted line taking up two lanes. These are selfish dick behaviors, and I get that.

Using turn signals, looking before you open the door on the traffic side of the car, running red lights after the other direction is green: those I don't get. Isn't it in your selfish interest not to cause a bike or another car to smash into you?
Posted by badstone on July 9, 2012 at 10:33 AM · Report this
echochamber 7
Drivers are liable. You are supposed to make sure it is clear before opening your door. In this case, if there are witnesses and/or the driver fessed up, the driver will have to pay.
Posted by echochamber on July 9, 2012 at 10:36 AM · Report this
Fnarf 8
That's terrible. I know people who've been doored as well. Drivers -- even if you check your mirrors, that's not enough. Crack your door first, just an inch, so the cyclist can see it, before swinging it wide.

One of the many things that makes me angry is dickhead drivers with super-dark tinted windows. They make it impossible to see if a person is sitting in the driver's seat (and thus an open door is an imminent possibility. Heavily tinted windows are illegal but unenforceably so.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on July 9, 2012 at 10:36 AM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 11
I almost doored a biker once in the middle of the night. Not well lit street, slightly foggy windows (wintertime gathering of things), and a biker with no lights or reflectors in dark clothing caused me to not see the cyclist. Luckily he was able to dodge but it freaked me the fuck out.

I'd like to take the time here to also let bicyclists know that being well lit is helpful (though not 100% proof). I see so many cyclists who seem to think that having two little wheel reflectors is enough to ride your bike clad in black at 10pm or midnight. Be careful cyclists.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on July 9, 2012 at 10:41 AM · Report this
Hernandez 12
Sharrows are stupid, a cop-out so the city can say "look, we did something" while accomplishing nothing. We need more separated lanes, it's better and safer for everyone!
Posted by Hernandez http://hernandezlist.blogspot.com on July 9, 2012 at 10:41 AM · Report this
derrickito 13
don't ride in the door zone
Posted by derrickito on July 9, 2012 at 10:43 AM · Report this
meanie 14

@dominic

"the driver didn't do anything wrong, exactly, except not look to see if a cyclist was coming."

WRONG, the driver broke the law, and should have been ticketed and is the party responsible.

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?…

RCW 46.61.620
Opening and closing vehicle doors.

No person shall 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.
Posted by meanie http://www.spicealley.net on July 9, 2012 at 10:44 AM · Report this
15
http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?…

No person shall 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.

Posted by khg on July 9, 2012 at 10:45 AM · Report this
17
I once almost got doored right outside the Gregg's Cycles in Green Lake.
Posted by Ben on July 9, 2012 at 10:51 AM · Report this
18
In Holland people open their doors with their right hand. It forces you to look left when exiting.
Posted by chrismealy on July 9, 2012 at 10:52 AM · Report this
19
Legally, the driver is in the wrong here. The law is quite clear on the matter. It sucks for your friend and I hope he's OK (and yes, the motorist should be liable for his medical expenses, although if there was no police report it may be difficult to make that happen.)

Practically, it's advisable for a cyclist to simply follow the maxim "don't ride in the door zone." Get out far enough from parked cars that opened doors don't hit you. If that means you're not riding within a marked bicycle lane, that means the bicycle lane is defective and should be ignored.
Posted by MarcVH on July 9, 2012 at 10:55 AM · Report this
20
@7 and 14: Yep, Driver is wrong and liable.
@ 11 absolutely: bikers should all be well-lit. In Chicago, though, I note a correlation between hipsterism/fixie-riding and lack of lights and dressing in dark clothes all year round. The minimalist aesthetic will get you killed at night. I've seen stats saying that some huge percentage of cyclists killed by drivers at night had no lights on.

But I will say this: the one thing a cyclist can do to avoid getting doored is GO SLOWER. The slower you're going, the more time you have to react to a door suddenly opening, and the less impact will be generated if you do hit the door. 15-20 mph doesn't leave much time to stop. Not blaming the victim here, just general observation.
Posted by Chicago Fan on July 9, 2012 at 10:59 AM · Report this
21
Terribly sad. I walk down Second each day and am so happy when I see a bicyclist ignoring its motherfucking sharrowy-greeny leftmost lane to ride in another lane altogether. It seems to be the less experienced cyclists who seek the phony safety of the left. So many times I've seen bicyclists unable to realize a car might take a left onto University by crossing their bike lane, without looking for them first. Just awful.
Posted by gloomy gus on July 9, 2012 at 11:04 AM · Report this
stinky 22
BTW, the rush to apply sharrows may not be such a great idea, in part because in some instances they may encourage a cyclist to ride closer to parked vehicles than is safe: recent research at UBC and University of Toronto finds that *no* bike infrastructure is safer than sharrows. Here is press coverage:

http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Traff…

Here is a slide deck from a presentation summarizing the research from the recent Velo conference:

http://cyclingincities-spph.sites.olt.ub…

Fact is, sharrow or no sharrow, law or no law, the only way to ride safely is to stay beyond the reach of an opening door. Motorists may not like it, and it may even feel like an asshole move to the cyclist, but you gotta stay safe.
Posted by stinky on July 9, 2012 at 11:08 AM · Report this
23

That's what car insurance is for.

Have your friend call a personal injury lawyer. Legally, it's open and shut.
Posted by balmontguy on July 9, 2012 at 11:12 AM · Report this
24
1) Drivers are liable for opening their doors safely. Your friend has a legal case.

2) Sharrows mean share the lane. No need to stay to the right, especially where there are parked cars. I always ride out of range of opening doors to avoid being doored.
Posted by Just saying on July 9, 2012 at 11:12 AM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 25
The Sharrow is telling bicyclists and motorists that they both are expected to share the lane- the entire lane.
Bicyclists need not think they may only ride iwithin the width of the symbol.
Use the whole lane if needed. Stay away from the door zone if possible.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery to your friens, Dom.
Posted by Dr_Awesome on July 9, 2012 at 11:14 AM · Report this
Fnarf 26
isn't it better to just ride on the parallel side street one block over? they often get you there faster than the arterial what with its lights, strollers, peds, doorings's.
Cyclists don't ride one block over for the same reason you don't drive one block over: it doesn't work. For starters, that light you think people want to avoid is what makes it possible to cross the busy cross street. The one-block-over street doesn't have a light, so you can never get across.

As long as we're talking about bicycle lights here, let me chime in with my usual GET A GODDAMN REAL LIGHT. When it's dark, drivers can't see your dinky little blinky thing, or if they can see it they can't tell exactly where it is. That goes at least double if it's raining, and the streetlights and headlights are reflecting off the road and your stupid little blinker is worse than useless.

A real light is an inconvenience. If your light isn't inconveniently bulky and heavy, it's garbage. A good bike light costs at least $150 and weighs a ton and is AS BRIGHT AS A MOTORCYCLE LIGHT. Anything less is garbage. People who disagree with me on this point are WRONG, and they are going to DIE.

Throw your blinking light away.

BIG LIGHT. YES, ON THE BACK TOO. NO, BIGGER THAN THAT.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on July 9, 2012 at 11:14 AM · Report this
28
@14: FTW.
Posted by tiktok on July 9, 2012 at 11:24 AM · Report this
29

Also, CYCLISTS:

Learn how to EMERGENCY STOP. Weight all the way back past the saddle, full-on rear brake, on front brake.
Fixed gear, this does not apply.
Posted by balmontguy on July 9, 2012 at 11:25 AM · Report this
30
Fnarf: yes, the "real" light costs $150, but they don't weigh much these days. All hail the LED revolution.
Posted by tiktok on July 9, 2012 at 11:25 AM · Report this
31
@25 has it exactly correct. The sharrow is an alert to the driver that they have to share the road with bicycles, as equals, as in maybe, you know... even have to follow behind a bicyclist for a block or three. In fact, "sharrow" is a portmanteau of share and arrow.

It is not a bike lane. It is a calm-the-fuck-down-and-let-bikes-ride-here-too lane. In other words, it's a fucking terrible idea, given the general hyperventilating impatience of drivers these days.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on July 9, 2012 at 11:31 AM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 32
I stand corrected, SDOT's blog does note that the sharrow is intended to guide cyclist to the correct lane position. It goes on to say that cyclists still should avoid riding close to car doors.
Posted by Dr_Awesome on July 9, 2012 at 11:32 AM · Report this
33
@26 - A $29 CatEye is light and bright and far better than no light at all.
Posted by Mike in Olympia on July 9, 2012 at 11:33 AM · Report this
35
Are bicycles licensed yet? 'nuff said.

Streets are Life and Fucking Death Every Goddamn Day.

City livin' at its' finest.
Posted by SweetDarkLord on July 9, 2012 at 11:40 AM · Report this
36
Indeed @20. As a surviving cyclist of a near-fatal accident, I'd like to add that another thing cyclists need to be aware of is that the hills in Seattle create what I think is an over-confidence due to the speed one can effortlessly achieve riding downhill. 2nd Avenue, with its sharrow and long hill, excels at creating this illusion of adrenaline-inducing "fun". It seems obvious, but I have to constantly remind myself: if there's ANY possibility that an obstacle may appear suddenly ANYWHERE in front of you, then riding fast is to essentially put yourself at serious risk.
Posted by wyndel hunt on July 9, 2012 at 11:45 AM · Report this
37
33 comments before the blatant troll. Way better than I expected and almost enough to restore my faith in people.
Posted by -J on July 9, 2012 at 12:08 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 38
I'm a lazy slow bike rider. But on the rare occasion that I get up some decent speed going down a hill, I stay well clear of the door zone. The possibility of getting doored terrifies me.

Sorry about your friend. Best wishes on his recovery.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on July 9, 2012 at 12:15 PM · Report this
Captain Wiggette 39
@14 & 15 for the truth.
Posted by Captain Wiggette on July 9, 2012 at 12:18 PM · Report this
40
sorry to hear that dominic. hope your friend has a speedy recovery, and yes, be careful all (door opening drivers and "in the channel" riding cyclists). i personally fit both of these criteria, and while i consider myself to be very safe in both practices, i (and everyone) can always do better.
Posted by captain underpants on July 9, 2012 at 12:24 PM · Report this
Fnarf 41
@33, $29 Cateyes are OK on suburban cul-de-sacs but worthless garbage in the rain -- worse than worthless, because the cyclist thinks he's more visible when he isn't. Even more worthless if they're blinking. It's impossible for a motorist to accurately track a blinking bike. I know that most cyclists have been in cars before; I don't understand why they don't see this, or not see this, as the case may be.

Cateye makes some OK bike lights at higher price points, but I wouldn't trust any company that quotes candlepower instead of lumen. You want at least 600 Lumen or you're putting your life at risk in the rain.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on July 9, 2012 at 12:29 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 42
@41,

Blinking lights have always confused me. Even ten years after moving here and encountering my first blinking bicycle light, my instinct upon seeing one is to stare at it a bit to figure what the fuck it is. When I'm driving, it really only serves to distract me for a few seconds.

I remember when taking drivers' ed 17 years ago being told that emergency lights can sometimes cause a driver to veer toward the stopped vehicle and crash into it. If that's true, using a blinking light on a bike is a really dumb-ass idea.
Posted by keshmeshi on July 9, 2012 at 12:37 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 43
Why isn't this an automatic charge of Assault with a Battery?
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on July 9, 2012 at 12:41 PM · Report this
Bob Anderton 44
Thank you for publicizing this problem. The law is clear-- don't open your door until it is safe to do so-- but few people are aware of the law.

I have represented many bicyclists who have been doored. Some of them even received bills for the damage to the doors before they sought legal help.

Learn to open your door with your right hand, it turns your body and you can see oncoming traffic.

www.washingtonbikelaw.com
http://www.facebook.com/wabikelaw
Posted by Bob Anderton http://www.washingtonbikelaw.com on July 9, 2012 at 12:43 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 45
Fnarf, no one makes a 600 lumen rear light. I've got an 80 lumen USB rechargable rear light and it's one of the brighter ones around. It's also lighter than most AA powered lights. My front light is 300 lumens and it's also pretty light. The weight and expense of lights has dropped dramatically in the last five years. LEDs and new battery tech makes owning good lights extremely easy.

Now, here's another safety tip: DIM YOUR DAMN LIGHTS ON THE BURKE. You're not riding at 50 MPH, you don't need 600 lumens. The people riding towards you can't see the trail and their eyes hurt.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on July 9, 2012 at 12:51 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 46
@42- It's better for you to stare at me for a couple seconds than it is for you not to see me at all.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on July 9, 2012 at 12:54 PM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 47
I've always checked behind me before opening my door when street parked because, you know, cars. Doesn't everybody?
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on July 9, 2012 at 1:08 PM · Report this
balderdash 48
@13, in many places the "door zone" is in fact the designated bike lane, dummy.
Posted by balderdash http://introverse.blogspot.com on July 9, 2012 at 1:18 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 49
Fnarf, how many cyclists with little blinking lights have you run over?
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 9, 2012 at 1:32 PM · Report this
50
@46 No it isn't a good thing. A semi on the side of the road is easily the most visible thing around (at least until we get cheap cloaking devices so we can sneak past scales) and people tend to stare at them. People also tend to run into them. If people can hit a freaking semi because they followed the blinking lights (and they do, just ask a major trucking company's safety department) they will hit you. Unlike the semi tho, you won't just be sitting there after the collision. You will be going to the hospital if you are lucky. The semi MIGHT have to go get some paint and a piece of reflector tape for the bumper. Some accidents like that are so horrific that they actually bend the bumper or snap it off. And yes the term horrific is justified in that situation. Not for the semi and it's driver. For the poor fool that just smeared him(or her)self on the semi's underbody braces while turning their car into a convertible. It is NOT pretty.
Now imagine that idiot hitting you and your bike. You are not the equivalent of a welded steel bumper that is designed to keep cars from going under the trailer. You are a mobile speed bump to that car driver. And before someone gets snide... Yes, cars are beer cans and speed bumps to idiot truck drivers and no we wouldn't even feel much of a bump if we ran over a bike. Biggest thing I have hit at speed was a lawn spreader (one of the ones homeowners use for grass seed and fertilizer) and all that did was somehow manage to remove my license plate as I flattened it. Lets not talk about LOW speed turns involving a guardrail ok? Except that I sure as heck can't figure out what that rail was trying to guard. Whatever it was it didn't do a good job except it did manage to blow out a tire as it was getting flattened. Oops.

Posted by Romial on July 9, 2012 at 1:37 PM · Report this
51
FYI, those medical bills should be covered by the "dooring" driver's liability insurance. If you friend is paying them out of pocket he is letting himself get ripped off.

If you cause a collision by opening your door into a traffic lane, you are at fault. This happens every day, and there is nothing that can change the door-openers liability.
Posted by Lack Thereof on July 9, 2012 at 1:41 PM · Report this
52
Dominic's misstatements of fact are well corrected in the comments above. SDOT has been widely criticized for placing both sharrows and bike lanes too far to the right - in the door zone - but they do not represent a space between "traffic" (by which I presume he means motorized traffic) and parked cars.

While I think this misuse of the sharrow opens the City to liability, it's not likely to pay.

In the meantime, while the driver's insurance should cover the medical bills and the driver should be cited, I'm guessing by the tone of the article rattled and resigned, that the police weren't called and that possibly the motorist's details weren't recorded.

When you're in a crash, please act like an adult, don't say you (or your bike) are okay because you're shocked or feel partly to blame ore are embarrassed. Take the time to exchange information; insist on filing a police report where appropriate, and where the other party is uncooperative or hostile or blaming, don't get into a shouting argument, write down their license plate and description and let the police handle this. The more we expect it of them the better they'll get at it.

I recognize I open the door (no pun intended) to trolls demanding why cyclists don't have insurance or license plates, and I concede possibly they should, but I hasten to add: a license plate doesn't exist so you can complain about other road users who merely annoy you, but where laws are broken and people suffer harm, they're pretty handy for tracking down malfeasors.

Oh, and don't ride in the door zone
Posted by JAT on July 9, 2012 at 2:01 PM · Report this
ItsAllOverNow 53
I call bullshit on this whole 'People drive into blinking lights' argument until someone provides some numbers supporting the claim that blinking lights cause more accidents than they prevent.
Posted by ItsAllOverNow http://nowaybro.blogspot.com/ on July 9, 2012 at 2:15 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 54
@50- Your vivid act of imagination has nothing to do with facts. Drivers who see a cyclist can avoid them. Drivers who don't see a cyclist have no ability to avoid them. Yes, some idiots will follow their eyes and cause an accident. And sometimes your seat belt will hold you in the wrong position during a crash and make things worse. No bit of safety equipment is perfect. I'd rather give a driver a chance to avoid me at night than have them complaining about how invisible I was right before they killed me.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on July 9, 2012 at 2:18 PM · Report this
emma's bee 55
@54: Exactly. I'm lit up like an xmas tree while riding at night. Should the worst happen, I always remind my spouse & friends to sue the ass off anyone who hits & kills me bedecked thusly and with my super-vis reflective vest.

Also, what everybody else said about sharrows that are too close to the dooring zone. Stay well out from them, cyclists. And, I hope your friend recovers quickly, Dom.
Posted by emma's bee on July 9, 2012 at 3:23 PM · Report this
56
And if people just do what's right without needing a law about it, no one will make a law about it that goes too far, takes our police officers' time away from other crimes, and annoys the crud out of people. Do it to save cyclists, yes, but DO IT TO MAKE GOVERNMENT LESS ANNOYING!
Posted by DRF on July 9, 2012 at 4:35 PM · Report this
TVDinner 58
@44: You're doing god's work, Bob. Thank you.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on July 9, 2012 at 6:48 PM · Report this
long-time reader 59
@29: Yes, every bicyclist should know how to do an emergency stop. No, that's not how it's done.

Move your weight all the way to the rear, yes. But that's so you can apply full force to the front brake and none to the rear. If you're doing it right your rear wheel will be applying almost no pressure to the road. Applying the rear brake would cause it to skid. In fact you should do 99% of your braking with your front brake. The rear brake is useful only when traction is very poor, or when your front brake has failed (or your front tire has blown out).
Posted by long-time reader on July 9, 2012 at 9:06 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 61
@59- Not to quibble, but it's more like 75% front, 25% rear. As long as you don't lock the rear, it's fine. Of course you have to practice to get the feel of it. You also have to practice to do a hard stop with your front brake without somersaulting.

I like to lock up my rear when pedestrians are being stupid just because the skidding tire noise gets their attention of the six-abreast-on-the-Burke types better than my bell. That's for effect, I'm always slow enough to stop before colliding with someone, but there's no reason for them to know that.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on July 9, 2012 at 11:11 PM · Report this
63
@62 The City puts the sharrows in the wrong place, the driver breaks the law by opening their door when it's illegal to do so and yes, Dominic's friend, riding in a somewhat unsafe manner gets hurt. If the driver's insurance company wants to spend more money than the claim is worth to fight about it they might prove contributory negligence, but the driver is still at least 75% to blame.

Having said that, we still don't know if Dominic's friend even knows who the driver is
Posted by JAT on July 10, 2012 at 9:15 AM · Report this
64
Some errors: First, of course, the driver did break the law. Second: "He was just riding where cyclists are supposed to ride on every street—in that channel between the cars lanes and parked cars." That is not, in fact, where a cyclist should ride. You should check with one of the many excellent bike safety groups we have in this town before throwing up misinformation. A sharrow instead of a lane means that there is not enough room for a bike and a car in that lane, and the bike has the right to take the full road if they are traveling at a good speed and do not let cars build up behind them. The cyclist did not break any laws, but there was something they could do in that situation. If you are riding fast enough to be hurt by a door, ride clear of them.
Posted by Incredulity on July 10, 2012 at 10:39 AM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 65
@62- I learned the hard way that if you open your car door and it gets hit by ANYTHING (in my case, a tow truck) that the person opening the door is held responsible.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on July 10, 2012 at 12:43 PM · Report this
66
@54 I have to say you are correct when you say if people see the cyclist they can avoid them. You are making an assumption tho that once they see the cyclist they will avoid the cyclist. You can SEE my truck. Especially in the daytime with nice clear skies. It doesn't mean everyone will avoid hitting my truck. I wish they would since when I've been hit my truck has been parked in a marked parking space, in a truck stop, but even that doesn't help. Four way blinkers being on doesn't even help. For some reason I haven't been hit at night with either my nice solid headlights on or every light turned off. Maybe people just don't like the 4-ways being on? In any case do yourself a favor. Use a SOLID light. Much more noticeable.

A real difference is made as an example that happened at about 4 this morning. Going down one hill and up the next on highway 287 in Texas. Start up the hill and notice a blinking light, my first thought, "They put a stop light on the other side of this hill now or is it warning of something else?". Actually it was an idiot on a bike wearing black clothes with a blinking rear lamp. If I had been drunk I probably would have been so absorbed by the unexpected blinking light that I would have hit him. Fortunately for him I was neither drunk nor tired.
Not two hills later was another cyclist. This one had a solid light. Wasn't looking for another cyclist riding on 287 at that time of day so same surprised situation with a difference. A solid light. I could see that was moving. I was even able to tell what it was with enough time to move over and NOT blast the poor person with that moving wall of air beside my truck. The first one didn't get the move over and had to deal with that air blast. Ever have a semi doing 65 go past you two feet away while you are going less than 5?
If you want to be noticed and NOT mistaken for something else spend a little money and get a light that has a blinking core and a non-blinking row of LED's around it. That will draw attention.
More...
Posted by Romial on July 10, 2012 at 12:48 PM · Report this
ItsAllOverNow 67
@66 Wow, anecdotal evidence from your own life experience. No way anyone can argue with that.

PS work on making your point with fewer words.
Posted by ItsAllOverNow http://nowaybro.blogspot.com/ on July 10, 2012 at 2:48 PM · Report this
68
67, actually I enjoyed reading Romial's tale. It was reasonably well-written, had a point, and carried a minimum of insults. I don't mind reading a few extra words in such circumstances.
Posted by clashfan on July 10, 2012 at 7:26 PM · Report this
I Hate Screen Names 69
There's no real solution except to say: Be careful, drivers, and open your doors slowly after checking to make sure no one is coming.
That's not the only solution.

I completely agree that the driver should be careful about opening his door. But let's be honest: many drivers are not careful. In a country where pretty much everyone can drive, you're going to have, say, 10-20% of drivers consistently doing stupid things. Which means that everyone else needs to assume that other drivers are morons, and plan accordingly.

Waaaay back when I was learning how to drive, we called it "defensive driving." Assume the car in front of you will hit its brakes for no reason. Assume the car in the opposite lane looking to make a left will go for it when you're one second away. Assume someone going 20 mph slower than you will suddenly pull into your lane. And yes, assume the person sitting in the parked car will decide to open their door as wiiiide as they can just as you're passing them.

So yes, the fault is totally on the idiot driver who didn't check their mirrors before opening their door. But that doesn't mean that there's nothing clever people can do other than barreling into the open door.
Posted by I Hate Screen Names on July 11, 2012 at 12:20 AM · Report this
wilbur@work 70
What 13 said. Cork the lane if necessary.

This is a terrible thing to have happen, but you've got to assume all drivers are retarded (because 75% are) and stay out of any zone where a dumbass can cause you serious harm. Corking the lane will get drivers pissed off, but they're not going to run you over.

I drive, bike, ride motos, take the bus and walk, all regularly, so STFU if you think I'm biased.
Posted by wilbur@work on July 12, 2012 at 3:53 PM · Report this

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