This morning on my ride into work, I saw a car door wide open. As I approached and saw a bicyclist wincing and breathing hard in front of the car, it clicked. “Did you get doored?” “Yeah”, he replied, and lifted up his shirt to show a half-inch deep, 4 inch long gash in his chest, starting around his collarbone, in the perfect shape of the corner of the door.
It’s easy to preach about how dangerous and stupid throwing your door open into traffic is, but to be completely frank, even when I’m driving I’m not as observant as I expect other motorists to be when I’m out biking. I drive so infrequently that I’ve lost the confidence that I suppose has shifted to my self assurance when biking. I think and hope that keeping an eye out for cyclists will become second nature in society as bikes become more and more present on the roads, but I expect most drivers won’t look for a bike before opening their door until that tragic one time where they connect with one.
When I first moved to the city, I walked, biked, and on occasion drove like I was still in the suburbs. Having never lived in an urban area, when my brother drives in the city he stops for pedestrians at an intersection when he has a green light and waits behind double-parked cars not realizing that they aren’t going anywhere. While stopping for folks at a crosswalk is great, doing so when traffic has a green is incredibly unsafe and impractical, and stopping behind a stopped car is simply innocence having likely never crossed paths with a stopped car with four-way flashers. I think programs like Anti-Dooring are great in raising awareness about the danger of bashing a person with a car door, but to be realistic, the only people visiting that site are cyclists.