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Friday, September 16, 2011

The Door Prize...

I'm pretty busy at work, so don't have time to do a proper post today.  I know... my 3 loyal fans will be disappointed.

However, I did see this on the Wisconsin Department of Transportation website:

http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/safety/vehicle/bicycle/rules.htm


Don't get the door prize!

  • Ride in a straight line three feet out from parked cars. You'll avoid car doors that open in front of you and you'll be more visible to other drivers.
  • Don't pull into the space between parked cars. Ride just to the right of the actual traffic line, not alongside the curb.
  • Ride straight, three feet from parked cars - don't get "doored"
Ride three feet from cars, don't weave in and out


Now, it is good advice from the DOT to ride in a straight line three feet from parked cars and not to weave in and out.


What I don't like is how the DOT, 1) equates getting hit by a car door a "prize" (I picture Bob Barker opening the car door as I pass, hitting me with it, and then telling me to "come on down" as I am the next contestant on car door v. bike), and 2) implies that if a cyclist does get hit by a car door, it is almost certainly the cyclist's fault (hence the language "you'll avoid car doors that open in front of you" and "don't get doored").


While the DOT points out a real danger for cyclists and tells cyclists to remain visible, it ignores the fact that the driver of a car has a duty to look and make sure it is safe to open a car door that opens into traffic.  In fact, later on in the section "Motorist Reminders", the DOT does not even mention that a driver should look to make sure the lane of traffic adjacent to the car door is free from other vehicles before opening the car door.


I'll be sure to do my best to avoid the door "prize", but I am only half the equation and I sure hope users exiting cars do not give me the door "prize".  


At least the DOT reminds motorists that bicycles belong on the road.  However, the DOT should do a better job reminding motorists that motorists have certain duties to maintain safety on the roads for all users.


Next week's post- I'm thinking helmets.

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