Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Dooring is incomprehensibly evil. If people could comprehend it, they wouldn't do it.

To explain dooring simply, it's when somebody opens a car door into the path of an oncoming cyclist. It requires parralal parking, low awareness and bad timing.

Certain St's are hotspots for it, Sydney Road and Victoria St for example are ideal, because the inner lane is occupied by parallal parking spaces, the bike lane runs underneath it, and thus bikes are forced to ride about 50cm out of parked cars.

One of the sales clerks at my preferred bike store smashed up all his front teeth from being doored on Sydney road. A kid died last year on Glenferrie road when a sudenly opened door resulted in him dodging it into the path of an oncoming truck.

Most people pop their door first and then swing it open, a few though just emphatically thrust it open in one motion. This is the dangerous way to open a door. As a cyclist you learn to spot the warning signs like changes in brake lights, movement through the rear view mirror etc and take the necessary precautions like slowing down and giving a wider berth.

But shit happens, and yesterday afternoon I got doored. It was close, I almost made it. I was on my BMX Luciana, I had 4 or 3m notice when the door just opened up in front of me. The BMX only has a rear brake so it doesn't have the greatest stopping power. I'd been the last through a changing light so I was lucky to have no traffic behind me. I swerved out and almost cleared the door but my left handle bar grip just clipped the door and I lost control. Some wobbling, some over correction and then I hit the deck.

It would have been fine except I landed and rolled on myright shoulder which took it out of the shoulder.

But dooring's on balance the best outcome is to clear the door completely, no collission, but this can put you in the path of an overtaking vehicle resulting in severe injury or death.

You are unlikely to die from just running into the door, but it is going to hurt. You can go over the handlebars, which for me would probably result in both shoulders dislocating, smash through the window and destroy your face and teeth. Put an arm through the window and require reconstructive surgery. Or bounce off the door into traffic and die. But probably, crashing into the door is on balance less potentially lethal than going around it.

I didn't make a judgement call, the nature of being doored means you just don't have time to do it. I just tried to avoid the obstacle in front of me I could easily have put myself in front of an overtaking vehicle and bean mushed out of existence.

Having my arm in a sling for the next two weeks is an inconvenience but I'm lucky to be alive really. I plan on riding again, I don't plan on being doored, ever again.

If you own a car, please, when paralal parked, pop your door, then swing it open. I can handle the rest.

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