Pico's Cycling - Tales of the Road is an online cycling magazine. It is intended for writers and riders who want to share their on the road cycling stories and pictures. Submissions that follow our guideline are gratefully appreciated. See the appropriate page in the site menu. Will publish the best of the best each month. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter @PicosCycling.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Riding in the Door Zone

By Pico Triano
Photos: Pico Triano (thanks to my wife and son for staging these shots)

For urban cyclist one of the most serious dangers is the possibility of being doored. Dooring is what happens when a parked car on the side of the road opens its door either causing the rider to run into the door or being knocked into traffic. For a cyclist this is potentially lethal. 

Years back in Toronto, Canada there was a horrific dooring accident. A young father commuting to work on his bicycle was doored on one of the main roads. He was knocked into traffic where he was hit by a truck. He died leaving a widow and several young children.

I have a lot of cycling miles under my belt but have never been doored. Granted there have been a lot of close calls. This does not need to happen.

Sadly most people who can help spread awareness or avoid the hazard themselves don't take the danger very seriously. In Ontario the government changed the legal definition of a collision to exclude incidents of dooring. As a result police no longer track these incidents. There are people trying to do something about the issue but far too few. We can all do something to prevent these types of accident.


Cyclist need to be ultra aware of the parked cars they are passing. If possible ride far enough out to not be in the door zone. Also be especially wary of any car with occupants who don't appear to be aware of your presence. If you can keep up with the flow of traffic, I am all for claiming the lane by riding in the middle of it.

If possible avoid streets with trolley tracks. They really complicate the issue. Any evasive action might put one of your wheels into the groove and send you flying. If you manage to stay up on the rail, your brakes are useless until you're back on the pavement.

Motorists, please, always check your rear view mirror and do a shoulder check before opening your door. Look for cyclists, they are not as big as most of the other traffic. Don't open your door even a crack until they are passed. Popping the door handle and moving the door out even slightly can panic a cyclist into a potentially dangerous evasive manoeuvre. It has been done to me many times.

In Canada there are consequences for hitting a cyclist with a door. Usually a fine and points taken off your license. You don't want the life a cyclist on your conscience either.

Let's make the world a safer place for cyclists. Cheap, clean, efficient transportation doesn't have to be too dangerous.

Attention: The following video is a news report that happens far too often. It has been previewed carefully. It is not as graphic as I feared. This is a reality that doesn't need to be.

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Rules of the road are made for everyone. Not just motorists and not just cyclists.

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