Every time you put wheels to pavement and pedal down the street, you may spend half your time watching for hazards and the other half praying that the next car that passes you does not pick the wrong moment to cross into the bike lane. Trying to watch what is going on behind you while keeping one eye on the road ahead can seem very difficult. Some bikers are afraid that a driver parked on the right is going to throw its door open and strike them.
One of the top goals of all cyclists riding in urban areas is to avoid dooring accidents. While you have absolutely no control over when and how a driver opens their door, there are defensive techniques you can use to limit the probability of being the victim of an accident. Read further for some tips to dodge a dooring while riding in the city.
Ride in the safe zone
When riding next to parked cars, you should keep a safe distance to allow for opening doors. In general, three to four feet of space between you and the cars should be enough to clear an opening door. Pay special attention when you are passing vehicles that are double parked, such as delivery trucks where the driver might be rushing too much to take care when exiting the vehicle.
Take the lane
When you find yourself riding in a bike lane that has become unsafe due to double parked vehicles or too much roadside activity, keep in mind that you have the right to take the lane. Check over your left shoulder to ensure you have plenty of space to change into the main lane without getting hit by a car. Ride in the middle of the lane to reduce the temptation that drivers might have to pass you in an unsafe manner. When the bike lane or typical safe-zone becomes free again, carefully move back.
Don’t skip the safety gear
Always make yourself visible by wearing brightly colored clothing and reflective gear when you go for a ride. In addition, be sure to wear your helmet and riding gloves, even if you are only going a short distance. Accidents can happen when you least expect them, which is why you should always expect them!
Be prepared in case you get doored
Since it is not always possible to avoid an accident, have a game plan and know what to do in case you get hurt. First, accept or get medical help as soon as possible. Even if you do not seem to be injured, you may have suffered some internal damage that only a doctor will be able to diagnose. Also, remember that you have legal rights, and you may be entitled to compensation if your injuries were caused by a negligent driver.