Bicyclist hurt after hitting car door that opened in her path

A woman in her 20s was just taken to the hospital by private ambulance after her bicycle collided with a car near Genesee/California at the north end of The Junction. Though it was originally dispatched as a potentially major medical call, Seattle Fire spokesperson Kyle Moore says the rider has only minor injuries. WSB contributor Christopher Boffoli found out from police at the scene that the woman was riding southbound on California when a driver parked in front of a building on California opened his car door into her path, and she went over the handlebars.

68 Replies to "Bicyclist hurt after hitting car door that opened in her path"

  • Nobody October 20, 2011 (12:35 pm)

    How fast was the cyclist going?

    It bothers me that I often see cyclists breaking the car speed limit, running stop signs & lights, etc.

    Was the driver truly at fault? This story is sorely lacking in details.

    • WSB October 20, 2011 (12:42 pm)

      This is what police and fire say. Sorry, that’s all we have and I doubt we will get more – it’s actually more information than we usually are able to get less than an hour after a crash, and this is with both a journalist at the scene and me making phone calls, so it’s fairly comprehensive coverage. Meantime, this thread WILL NOT be turned into the typical car-vs.-cycle flamefest, so nobody bother trying, thank you. Someone is injured, there was a major fire response, and that’s why we are running a story. – TR

  • DRS October 20, 2011 (12:44 pm)

    I don’t know the situation of this accident but with as many bikes there are on the road these days I think it’s worth mentioning that despite Denis Leary’s rant from one of his albums, it’s in the RCW that one shouldn’t open their car door “until it is reasonably safe to do so.”

  • austin October 20, 2011 (12:44 pm)

    Further evidence that people don’t even have to be driving their cars in order to be negligent with them.

  • Nobody October 20, 2011 (12:45 pm)

    Why do you automatically assume that was my intent? I was simply asking a question. Geez.

  • Guy October 20, 2011 (12:47 pm)

    California Ave/ anywhere near the Junction is quite possibly the most dangerous area in Seattle to ride a bike. I have been hit, cut-off, swerved at, landed on the hood of a car after being driven into. I ride carefully, and legally all over Seattle. I don’t hog the “sharrows”, I’m courteous, but I will yell at you for doing all of the above. Never have I been so freaked out to ride in a neighborhood. It’s really freaky. The drivers head is somewhere else. It’s just strange.

  • Por favor October 20, 2011 (12:47 pm)

    Quickly passing judgement is easy, but not fair. Somebody got hurt and let’s just hope everybody recovers quickly. I would hate to be the cyclist or the driver. Nobody wins.

  • rob October 20, 2011 (12:49 pm)

    unlikely she was exceeding the speed limit. you’d be surprised how great of effort it would take to hit 30 mph there even with the little bit of downhill there is at that spot.

  • easy enough October 20, 2011 (12:51 pm)

    I think I just saw this. Hopefully the cyclist is okay – there’s a danger that they will get pushed into oncoming traffic when this happens.

    It’s called “dooring” and if the driver looks for traffic (including bikes) first, it shouldn’t happen. Funny, though, with all the people complaining that bikes are too slow, to hear someone try to blame the cyclist for going too fast.

    Would be good to find out if someone gets cited, if WSB comes across that information. Thanks for reporting it.

    • WSB October 20, 2011 (12:53 pm)

      Christopher asked at the scene but it was too soon for police to say – TR

  • JanS October 20, 2011 (12:54 pm)

    we driver/parkers need to pay attention, and look before we open doors. I think we’re all guilty at times…

    I’m so sorry someone was injured. Hope that she’s up and cycling again soon.

    • WSB October 20, 2011 (1:25 pm)

      Christopher did add that the bicyclist was reported to have been ready to get right back up and ride away but the driver convinced her to stay and be checked out, so she did. This is a reminder to me as well, as a driver, to look after parking, before opening the door to get out. Commenters have educated me as well as other readers … I know I’m already really cautious when in a moving vehicle, before changing lanes, etc. but I can think of a time or two recently when I know I did *not* look in the rear-view mirror before opening the door to get out…

  • Westie October 20, 2011 (12:58 pm)

    Thanks for keeping us informed Tracy. “Nobody” truly is nobody. Being raised by a PI, I can really appreciate what WSB is doing and I love it and rely on it! Thank you much

  • bikinginla October 20, 2011 (1:01 pm)

    You’re kidding, right Nobody?

    Very few cyclists have the ability to ride at most speed limits, let alone break them. The overwhelming majority of bike riders ride in the 10 to 15 mph range; only a relative handful even have the capability of traveling above 25 mph on level ground.

    On the other hand, most drivers routinely travel at least 5 to 10 miles above the limit. Don’t believe me? I challenge you to drive at the speed limit on a busy street and count the drivers who pass you — let alone the angry honks and gestures you’re likely to receive.

    As for fault, I’ll let someone else cite the specific law in your state. However, in most, if not all, states, the driver of a vehicle is required to make sure the way is clear before opening a car door, making the driver at fault in virtually every case absent any conflicting violation by the cyclist.

  • jno October 20, 2011 (1:21 pm)

    Nobody, you were actually asking two questions, with a flamebait statement sandwiched between. FYI.

  • Always confused October 20, 2011 (1:22 pm)

    I hope she’s ok :( THIS is one of my worst bike nightmares because there really isn’t anything you can do…it happens so fast!

  • Tooby October 20, 2011 (1:22 pm)

    I see drivers open their vehicle doors when parked on the street all the time, totally oblivious to other vehicles or bicyclists that are approaching from behind. Even though it should be COMMON SENSE to check first before flinging your door open onto the street without checking that it is clear and safe to do so, not to mention there is a law in most states, including Washington, making it illegal. I’d say that on average at least 8 out of 10 drivers that I see on a daily basis do it. I’m always afraid that one of these days I’m going to take one of their doors off when I hit it with my car as I go by, or worse yet, injure the driver.

  • Mary October 20, 2011 (1:26 pm)

    This happened to me many years ago as a teenager before helmets were common. I was not going particularly fast on a flat residential street, was in the driver’s blind spot when they opened their door & went over the door/handlebars. As an idea of the force, the collision of my head with the pavement scraped at least 1/8″ off my glasses frames. Fortunately I only ended up with a broken finger, a concussion, and a few scary minutes when I couldn’t see. To this day I shudder just thinking about riding in those bike lanes carved out between a row of parking and a traffic lane.

    I’m glad to hear this woman’s injuries are minor. It could have been so much worse, even if she wasn’t traveling very fast.

  • Jim P. October 20, 2011 (1:28 pm)

    People in cars simply do not see anything that is not an immediate threat to them and you can’t even count on that.

    I was on a bus once in another place and time and someone did this. The bus got an interesting fender ornament and the person about to step out of the car probably got new underwear once they stopped shaking. They apparently hadn’t even bothered to look and this was a busy four lane roadway.

    I’m not excusing the bicyclists I see here running the lights and bloody near picking up pedestrians on their handlebars as they whiz in and out of a crowded sidewalk scene but people in cars must always be assumed to be negligent, drunk or homicidal.

  • datamuse October 20, 2011 (1:28 pm)

    It so happens that I was riding along Fauntleroy the other week and came upon that digital sign that tells you how fast you’re going.
    14 mph on a flat surface and dry pavement. Breaking the speed limit indeed.

  • AJP October 20, 2011 (1:31 pm)

    Oh my goodness I’m always so afraid of this. I hope everything’s all right. That was good of the driver to convince her to get checked out. I’m sorry for the driver too.

  • Tom October 20, 2011 (1:31 pm)

    This is why cyclists “take a lane” (ride in the middle of the lane not up against the cars), which is perfectly legal even though it sometimes slows car traffic down a bit.

  • Al October 20, 2011 (1:33 pm)

    If you have ever been on a bicycle and had this happen, or even had a close call with a “dooring,” it’s very scary and can be fatal since one usually then falls out into the travel lane, in front of other vehicles.

    This is why it’s important for cyclists to ride out of the “door zone” (those poorly placed Sharrows in the door zone should not be followed as location devices…and this is a major reason why you often see cyclists riding in ‘the middle of the road’.) and for people opening car doors to make sure the lane is clear before doing so.

    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…

  • Amanda October 20, 2011 (1:45 pm)

    Oh my goodness people! It was an ACCIDENT! They happen all the time. It’s not some malicious driver intent to hurt a bike rider. And it’s not some crazy bicyclist breaking the speed limit and spitting on cars to boot.

    You all have too much time on your hands!

  • Bob Loblaw October 20, 2011 (1:46 pm)

    Always wondered who was at fault when this happens.

  • JN October 20, 2011 (1:47 pm)

    This is a really unfortunate incident which has happened to me before, and nearly happened about 4 other times. As others have said before, it is nearly impossible to hit 30mph on a bike unless you’re going down a steep hill in an aero tuck, or you’re Fabian Cancellara. And “Nobody”, whether it was your intent or not, your comment came off as intending to start some sort of conflict.
    I would also just like to ask everyone to be careful, especially during the upcoming Viaduct closure starting tomorrow.

  • KatherineL October 20, 2011 (1:52 pm)

    This happens to me sometimes when I’m driving my car – somebody just opens their door into the lane of traffic. Right in front of me. Geez. If I’d been driving inattentively, I would have taken their doors off. And sometimes them with it.

  • easy enough October 20, 2011 (1:53 pm)

    You beat me to it, Tom. Yes, bike lanes can be dangerous. Drivers, PLEASE be a little compassionate when a cyclist is in the main travel lane! We’ll move over as soon as it’s safe! The cyclist who got doored learned the hard way to take the lane sometimes.

    I once almost got doored on Greenlake Ave by someone who didn’t look – I screamed “BIKE” (it was the first word my panicked mind could get out). Instead of saying “sorry,” the passenger yelled “slow down.” Jeez, talk about failure to take responsibility for your actions! Would the driver have looked first if I was going slower?
    (I hope I haven’t violated any WSB rule with this!)

  • datamuse October 20, 2011 (1:54 pm)

    I don’t see anyone accusing the driver of malice, Amanda. I do se a fair amount of elaboration on how easily this can happen.
    I’m glad the cyclist is okay.

  • easy enough October 20, 2011 (1:56 pm)

    Amanda, it was a preventable collision in which someone was hurt and could have been hurt worse. It’s not smart to write it off as an “accident” and just assume “it happens”. It doesn’t have to. Hopefully people will learn from it and prevent one in the future. I think that’s what most of the posters here intend. I bet the driver and cyclist in this case have learned a lesson!

  • CMP October 20, 2011 (2:02 pm)

    Glad to see a law cited about this b/c I’ve heard otherwise and did not agree. I’ve always checked my side mirror before I open my door and am amazed at how many people in Seattle, particularly those parked along California Ave, fail to do so. They just fling their car doors open, not paying any attention to oncoming cars or bicyclists. It only takes a second to glance over and could save a lot of hassle, or even someone’s life.

  • Steve October 20, 2011 (2:11 pm)

    Years ago while working on Yesler in P-square I saw this sort of thing happen right in front of me. I’ll never forget the sound. I hope that the rider is OK and that she heals fast.

    Thanks as always to WSB for a decent, level, even-handed report of what happened.

    Hopefully as drivers we can all remember to look before opening our doors and as riders pay attention to the cars on the side of the road.

  • denise October 20, 2011 (2:16 pm)

    I’m a cyclist and I’m a car driver, and as careful as I try to be, I can imagine a scenario where, in a hurry, I might fail to see a cyclist and open my door. Amanda is right. It was an unfortunate accident and I’m sorry for both parties.

  • m October 20, 2011 (2:25 pm)

    People are clueless.

  • Poltergeist October 20, 2011 (2:29 pm)

    This is sadly very common. This happened to me on a residential street just yesterday, but I was not on a bicycle. I was driving the car that almost took the door off. Had I not swerved quickly and had just enough room to do so it would have ended badly. Especially for the person who opened the door without looking. They could have been injured and would have been at fault. Opening car doors into traffic, bicycle or otherwise, is illegal and dangerous.

  • Tooby October 20, 2011 (2:36 pm)

    For those that are interested in the Washington State law regarding opening doors into traffic:

    State law says clearly that drivers and their passengers shall not 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.[RCW 46.61.620]

    And in the spirit of equality for both sides (motor vehicle drivers and bicyclists) here’s the law that I see most often not followed in Seattle by bicyclists:
    Any person operating or riding on a bicycle not powered by motor on a public roadway, bicycle path or on any right-of-way or publicly owned facilities located in King County including Seattle, shall wear a protective helmet designed for bicycle safety. [BOH 9.10.010(A)]

  • Krystal October 20, 2011 (2:38 pm)

    The careless door opening has to stop, and yes, I am assuming that is what happened in this situation.
    I myself have crashed into a car door that was opened in my path when I was cycling in a bike lane in my hometown.
    However, I see this all the time on 35th Ave SW, drivers opening doors right as a car, bus, cyclist drives by, and many times there isn’t room for that cyclist, bus, car to swerve out of their way. You think people would have some common sense or value for their own lives when opening their doors in the middle of traffic and stepping out into a street, but we all know that common sense really isn’t that common.

  • Dakota October 20, 2011 (2:44 pm)

    What IS the speed limit on California? I can’t remember if there is a sign anywhere until you get on top of the Gatewood Hill and then it (apparently) goes down to 30 mph.

  • Mac J October 20, 2011 (2:50 pm)

    Dakota: Standard speed limit on Washington arterials is 30mph, unless otherwise marked. The sign on Gatewood might be related to there being a 20mph school zone near by.

  • chet October 20, 2011 (2:58 pm)

    Hope the cyclist is ok, sounds like they were not hurt too bad.
    Echoing what poltergeist and others have said as well.. open your door when it is safe to do so for bikes AND cars.. It is so frustrating to drive down a street and have to swerve because the driver just flung it open or what is also common is people getting in their car and leaving the door all the way open while they get comfortable for seconds to minutes without realizing their door is in the way of safe travel.

  • Lolly October 20, 2011 (2:59 pm)

    This is turning into a bike vs. car flamefest! Come on everyone, move on!

  • Cclarue October 20, 2011 (3:05 pm)

    Just this afternoon I was driving north on delridge and following a woman cyclist who followed every law and was wearing an orrange vest and had a front light. I was so hapoy to see a safe cautious cyclist out on our busy road. It is dangerous riding in the city and I love to see cautious law obiding cyclists!!!! Todays incident seems like a total accident. I will be checking my mirrors after reading this!!! Thank you for making us all think about being aware when we exit our vehicles!

  • metrognome October 20, 2011 (3:07 pm)

    Dakota — ditto what MacJ said; also, I believe state law lowers the speed limit in a commercial area like the Junction to 20 mph, even if it isn’t signed. In any case, drivers must not exceed the limit that is ‘safe’ for the existing conditions, i.e. snow, congestion, etc.
    Without commenting on this accident … my dad was a driver ed teacher when I was growing up, so I absorbed lots of preventive driving techniques. First is that driving (or bicycling or walking) requires all your attention. Second, drive defensively, not offensively. For example, when turning, look ‘around’ the corner to see what is coming, like a ped running to make the light. Third, anticipate the unexpected and watch for small tell-tale indicators; in this case, brake lights or exhaust or back-up lights flashing when the car is put into park, etc. My ex used to think I had ESP when I avoided a few accidents, but all I was doing was watching other drivers’ rear-view mirrors to see if they were getting ready to make an unsignaled lane change.

  • visitor October 20, 2011 (3:16 pm)

    That’s the problem with bike lanes next to traffic instead of separated from car traffic, as they are in most of Europe.

  • JN October 20, 2011 (3:48 pm)

    Tooby, I personally view helmet use as a personal choice. When I am riding to work downtown from W. Seattle or on a club ride, yes, I always wear a helmet because the conditions warrant it. When I’m just riding less than a mile on errands in West Seattle I don’t wear a helmet because the streets I ride on are not dangerous or congested, and I also find (and studies show) that drivers act more courteous around me when I am not wearing a helmet. Helmets are not designed for a collision with a car, they were designed for racers cycling at high speeds within centimeters of one another. Sorry to go off topic, just wanted to present a possible reason some cyclists don’t wear helmets.

  • Seaviewer October 20, 2011 (4:20 pm)


    Helmets aren’t designed for collisions with cars?

    I’m not sure what you mean.

    Helmets are designed to protect your head from a collision with whatever. Cars, Pavement, Walls, etc.

    You rarely see a bicyclist striking their head on a car. This one sure didn’t. They get hit and they fall off the bike, and their head strikes the pavement. This is true whether you are hit by a car, or your simply lose traction while racing. It’s not the thing that caused you to lose control, it’s your head hitting the unforgiving pavement that causes the trauma.

    That’s why you wear a helmet. And if you don’t always want to wear one, fine. But there’s no good reason not to. You are simply placing yourself at a much higher risk of a TBI. It’s your brain and if you want to take that risk, you can, but you are fooling yourself if you think that helmets were designed for racing crashes or if you think somehow a crash caused during a race is somehow different than one caused by a car.

    A bike crash is a bike crash. Your head is your head. Going over the handlebars feels the same no matter what’s tripping you up.

  • Valerie October 20, 2011 (4:33 pm)

    JN, helmets are designed to lessen the injury if you go flying over the handle bars and hit your head on the pavement. Which can happen when you least expect it, even in supposedly ‘safe’ (e.g. neighborhood) conditions. There’s nothing quite like the crack of a skull on concrete to flip your life around and turn you into a TBI (hopefully) survivor. Even with a helmet a head injury can be severe, but without a helmet it’s practically guaranteed to be. Yes, it’s still your choice to wear one or not. I’m just offering another perspective.

  • breezygirl October 20, 2011 (4:48 pm)

    Ok, honestly people!! How often do you check to see if a bike is coming before you open your car door?? If you’re honest with yourselves, I would be willing to bet it’s not very many! Amanda is right, it was an ACCIDENT!!

  • G October 20, 2011 (4:53 pm)

    First, I hope the bicyclist is alright.

    Folks should always look before opening a car door. We’ve all seen people do, and we’ve all done this before.

    But I have to weigh in with my two cents on the bicycle wars. In my opionion, this city is not designed for bicyclists. The city is hilly, it is cold, wet and dark for much of the year, there is poor visibility, including vegetation that obstructs views. Too, it is a densely populated city.

    Even with safety improvements, Seattle is still Seattle. How many bicyclists will be riding up Admiral Way, or Columbia Way off MLK, on a dark, wet cold February day – even if it were absolutely risk-free?

  • datamuse October 20, 2011 (4:54 pm)

    Since you ask, breezygirl? Every time. Yes, I really do.
    And also for cars, pedestrians, strollers, runaway dogs, and escaped toddlers.
    Of course this was an accident. Nobody involved intended for it to happen. That’s pretty much the definition of accident. So?

  • Katie October 20, 2011 (5:05 pm)

    @Breezygirl- honestly, I pretty much always look! Don’t want my door taken off! Do you walk into the street without looking? I like to avoid beng hit by things at all times!

  • chas redmond October 20, 2011 (5:12 pm)

    breezygirl – accidents are random events which are not preventable. being doored by someone opening their car door without looking to see if it’s safe is not an accident, it’s a deliberate act of negligence. You can say the driver might have been distracted, but it’s no accident. Opening a door is a willful act, not an accidental act. Ask me about the 5-day coma I was in and the $37,000 civil suit I filed against the individual who opened their car door on me. Yes, it’s preventable. And, yes, the suit was adjudicated in my favor.

  • Curiouser October 20, 2011 (5:22 pm)

    breezy, I probably check 95% of the time .. it’s that other 5% of inattention that’ll getcha. :-(
    It was good that the driver insisted the biker be checked out. Glad she seemed to be ok.

  • WsEd October 20, 2011 (5:46 pm)

    she should Sue the city for negligence. Keep painting white lines and calling them bike lanes Mcginn. Your out come election day.

    Does anyone remember that this was sold as bike trails years ago and then turned into bike lanes once they figured out paint is cheap.

    You can’t paint a lane between vehiclular traffic and parked cars and think that’s safe. Pure negligence.

  • datamuse October 20, 2011 (6:19 pm)

    G, did you or did you not see WSB tell people not to do what you’re doing right there?
    And didn’t you post the exact same comment the last time this topic came up?
    It’s hilly and it’s rainy. I’ve noticed, thanks. What’s your point?

  • me on 28th Ave SW October 20, 2011 (7:11 pm)

    I will never understand what is so hard about looking the driver’s side view mirror while your hand is on the door handle. Don’t open unless clear. Problems solved.

  • Scandinavian October 20, 2011 (7:24 pm)

    I check every darn time I open the car door. When driving from my alley to the street I stop BEFORE THE SIDEWALK. Then proceed if the sidewalk is clear. How many of you whiners do that? Three hands raised? Well thank you very much.

    Now go back to whining about the horrible mayor, bicycle lanes, poor streets, and on and on and on…

  • I. Ponder October 20, 2011 (7:40 pm)

    Without quoting the exact law, the jist of it that bicyclists are supposed to ride as far to the right as they deem safe. As an experienced bike commuter (and driver, though never at the same time) I rarely ride in the DOOR ZONE. That’s because it’s inherently unsafe. I ride as far to the right as is SAFE. Often there are potholes and crevasses that I have to go around. On my morning commute down Avalon, I can go 20-25 mph. If I’m going traffic speed I’ll often take the car lane along with the cars. Several times on Avalon I’ve had parked cars make U-turns just a few yards ahead of me. That’s a deadly move.

    A very hazardous place is near the YMCA. People (mostly moms) looking for parking spaces are clueless about what’s going on around them. They will commonly signal left and go right. I’ve had so many potential accidents there that I’m extra vigilant.

  • JN October 20, 2011 (8:02 pm)

    I have fallen off of my bike maybe once, and the only part of my body that contacted the ground was my hands and shoulder. Helmets are not designed to protect your head from a car hitting you at 30+ mph, they were introduced in the 50’s for racing cyclists, not commuters. The Dutch, Danish, every other major cycling country do not require helmets for anyone over 16. People assume that wearing a helmet makes you invulnerable, when in reality the only thing that will affect your safety is experience and good, planned infrastructure.

    Requiring people to wear helmets is a major block to getting people to ride because it continues the perception that cycling is for racers or recreational users and that it is inherently dangerous. When helmet use skyrocketed in the US in the 1990’s, head injuries went UP, not down. And since we’re on the topic of protecting your head from injury, in motor vehicle incidents involving head injury, in 44% of cases some sort of helmet or protective headband would have helped, but the car companies don’t want to project driving as dangerous. In fact, car companies are behind most movements to promote bicycle helmets because it is advantageous for them to promote cycling as a dangerous activity.

  • admiral cyclist October 20, 2011 (11:07 pm)

    I commute to work by bike, rain or shine. I wear hi-vis yellow and retroreflectors, flashing head and tail lights on my bike and helmet in use day or night. I hand signal every turn and lane change, stop at every red light and stop sign, and never exceed the speed limit (on those rare long downhills where that’s even possible). I ride my bike like everyone on and off the road is deliberately trying to kill me.

    This is why I never, ever ride down California for more than a block. The stretch of my commute that takes me up Alaskan Way South where I’m riding in a rock-strewn bike lane 3 feet to the right of an endless parade of semi trucks is absolutely worry-free compared to California.

    Drivers in the parking lanes do not look before opening doors or peeling out of parking spots.
    Cyclists taking the center of the traffic lane to keep clear of the door zone will experience at least one incident of road rage or dangerous impatience at least once per mile.

    I much prefer riding up or down parallel avenues and alleys where it’s possible to take the traffic lane safely even if it’s a little slower. Yes, I have the right to take the lane anywhere non-motorized vehicles are permitted – but it doesn’t make it a good idea. Arterials with street parking and one traffic lane per direction are almost always best avoided for cycling.

  • Elizagrace October 21, 2011 (10:29 am)

    Oh this is one of my biggest fears when I am riding to work. I hope the cyclist is ok and am very glad that the driver insisted she be checked out. If any accident the body doesn’t fully realize the injuries until it has calmed down a bit.

    Please be aware of your surroundings – pedestrians, bikes, cars, all of it.

  • swimcat October 21, 2011 (12:54 pm)

    Are JN’s comments a total joke and troll effort? Good lord, if not, Darwin’s theory will likely be in full effect soon.

  • JN October 21, 2011 (3:30 pm)

    No, I’m honestly not trying to “troll” and I am not making a joke. I was simply trying to provide some (legitimate) reasons behind the decision of some to not wear a helmet. I’m not trying to start any argument, and if it came across as such, I apologize. I would also like to express my regret about this incident, and sincerely hope we can all do more to provent subsequent “doorings”.

  • Terry October 21, 2011 (5:55 pm)

    It seems there is plenty of blame to go around on this. Cars need to be more aware of bikes. Amd bikes need to stay off the sidewalks, obeying lights etc

  • I. Ponder October 21, 2011 (11:56 pm)

    JN’s comments reflect what’s really going in in places like NYC where a huge bike-share program is starting up. People will be able to rent bikes all over the place for point-to-point use but will not be renting helmets because of hygiene concerns. It’s believed the benefits of the program will far exceed the risks. So, JN is not being a troll at all. I ride at least 25 miles a day and will always wear a helmet because I believe my chances of having an incident are more likely over time.

  • p2 October 22, 2011 (1:58 am)

    I’m very sorry this woman was hurt. I hope reading here about “dooring” heightens driver awareness and causes more people to consistently look for cyclists before opening their car door. I learned this lesson the hard way a few years ago. I was the oblivious driver, rushing to an appt, having parked on a narrow car lined residential street. She was lucky, she wasn’t riding overly fast and when she crashed she didn’t hit her head. But she hit the asphalt hard, badly scraping a knee, elbow, and I ruined her front tire. She didn’t want medical attention but she let me take her home and we stayed in touch for few weeks (and she let me pay for her tire replacement). I got off easy. And I guess she kind of did too, since she could’ve been hurt so much more. It still upsets me that I was so oblivious. I’m still grateful there were no oncoming cars to hit her or her bike when she was down. Similar to Scandinavian, I’m always cautious approaching sidewalks from an alley or parking garage, I drive slowly through neighborhood streets with an eye peeled for kids/dogs/cats. And even before I hurt this person I was cautious about opening my door when cars were passing by. But it never occurred to me that someone on a bike would ever need to be that close to my car when I was parked on a quiet residential street. Stupid, I know. I have zero negative thoughts on sharing the roads with cyclists, I find other drivers bad behavior far more annoyingly frequent. But I’m not a cyclist, never have been, and I know that’s why I wasn’t looking out for one that day. I’d never heard the term “dooring”, I just wasn’t really aware of the possibility. I am now. Hopefully lots of blog readers are too.

  • (required) October 22, 2011 (10:15 am)

    I hate to throw gas on a fire, but I would vote for a referendum or initiative that makes drivers strictly liable for causing any harm to a bicyclist from dooring. I’d even grant attorney fees and treble damages. I bet that would stop this kind of all too common “accident.”

  • JN October 23, 2011 (8:52 am)

    Terry, in this situation the only one to blame was the motorist, and he was responsible and thoughtful enough to remain at the scene and make sure that the woman who was injured did not ride away. And while it is at most times inadvisable, it is legal to ride a bicycle on city sidewalks. And please stop thinking that bicyclists are the only ones not obeying lights, signs, etc. That is an extremely blinkered way of seeing who’s breaking traffic laws out there. I see people driving through red lights as well as talking on their cell-phone while driving all the time, so it is not like people who ride bicycles are breaking the law at any greater rate than people driving cars.

Sorry, comment time is over.