Wednesday, August 10, 2011

So Simple, so effective

Sorry for the delays in posting folks,  too much going on to get the posts written- have some cool bike photos to share, but they need to get off my camera and onto my computer first.

Didn't help that last night at 1AM we had a mini repeat of last year's sewage backup.  Fortunately the rain wasn't as heavy, and we were able to contain it in the tiled bathroom, and keep it out of the new cork floor and furnished areas of the basement.   So much for it being a 10 year flood...

Anyway,  I've been meaning to post on an incredibly simple but effective tip to reduce doorings:  train drivers to open their door with their right hand.

Evidently this is standard practice taught in driver's ed in the Netherlands (according to this nice little piece about livable streets).   It forces you to twist your body around, making you much more likely to look around and see a biker before you open the door.    I am going to start making this a habit,  because I worry that even though I think about bikes so much that I can't watch where I'm going, someday I'm going to have a lapse in attention and door someone.

Obviously it's not a panacea, (you can twist your body without twisting your head) but it seems like a great habit to adopt.   I think a good extension of it would be to put your parcels and packages in the back seat or trunk, so that instead of focusing on gathering your stuff while you're opening up your door, you open the door, exit the vehicle, and then collect your stuff.

What tricks and tips would you incorporate into your routines, or even better into drivers ed to improve bike safety?


  1. One habit I've gotten accustomed to as a driver is to open my door just a little (like 4") after looking back, but not enough to strike a passing cyclist. I then turn give a second lookout before opening the door the rest of the way. By doing this, I not only get a better view when I look back the second time, but it also gives a potential "Heads up! Door opening!" warning to any cyclist who might see the door opening, in case I missed him the first time looking back.

  2. I was regretting postponing my "throw up" bike advocacy until I read your footing observation. You see, I was excited to get to ride in a door zone today. It seems we have some odd, psychic alignment on occasion.

  3. I do like somervillian. Started mostly bc of not wanting to door a car but it's a good habit and works for bikes too.


  4. Like Somervillain, I open my door a little first, and then all the way. Additionally, I also wait ~1 minute after turning off the car before opening my door. The extra time allows me to see if anyone is approaching, and to let cyclists get by quickly.

    I also try not to parallel park. Which is easier to do in the suburbs than in the city.

  5. I shall remember this post and find a way to incorporate it into any lectures I'm able to give to teach motorists how to motor nice on the road with cyclists.