A week or so ago, my friend John* sent me a text from the Emergency Room. He was “doored”. Riding his bicycle home from work like a good eco-commuter-getting-some-exercise, a parked car quickly and unexpectedly opened its door right into his path. He went flying and by the time he landed, was bleeding from the neck.
I am happy to say that he is just fine and will not even acquire a chick-magnet scar. So because I am on the opposite side of most car vs. bicycle Who Has the Right of Way and Who is Being a Jerk stories, I was ready to forget this incident.
The Trib, however, brought it up. Getting “doored”, I mean. Apparently it is becoming more common:
“As spring approaches, the Active Transportation Alliance, which is involved in efforts to make streets safer for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists in the Chicago region, is launching a campaign to increase public awareness about dooring crashes. The group considers doorings the most prevalent threat to on-street cyclists.
Informal surveys the alliance has conducted among its members indicate that more than half the people who bike on streets have been doored at least once, said Ethan Spotts, spokesman for the organization. But lacking solid statistics, bicycling advocates say they can neither prove a problem exists nor apply for federal and state traffic-safety funds to address it, he said.”
I live in the suburbs, and I was taught to always look before opening the car door. But seriously. When you are parallel parking? I don’t know how it isn’t an automatic thing.
Spring is here, folks. We are all going to have to learn to share the road. Drivers can make room and keep a lookout for those that aren’t insulated by 1,500 pounds of steel and driving up the cost of gasoline. You know, so as not to hit them. And cyclists can follow the rules of the road and not pretend to be pedestrians every other intersection when it happens to suit them. (OK, I had to get that out.)
*Whose play, Slouch, closes tomorrow night at Gorilla Tango Theatre in Chicago. (Ha! I did that twice!)