Laws banning ‘dooring’ of bicyclists mean well but don’t do much
You’re riding along on your bike, minding your own lane, when suddenly a driver flings open a car door right in front of you. If you’re lucky, you brake in time or swerve out of the way. If you’re not lucky, you could die.
As the Atlantic Cities reports, earlier this week the Virginia state Senate easily passed a bill that makes opening car doors into traffic “unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so” an infraction punishable of a fine up to $100. Not much, but better than nothing, right? Well, not if you’re Virginia House Speaker William Howell (R) or Virginian-Pilot columnist Kerry Dougherty, who called the bill “stupid” and “asinine,” respectively.
According to Cyclelicious, 40 states plus the District of Columbia have anti-dooring laws of some kind. But come on: How many cyclists do you know who have been doored, and how many drivers do you know who have ever gotten in trouble for it?
Being doored is why I essentially ride in the middle of the lane. Sorry, drivers that follow me. Getting doored could kill me.
— Michael Perkins (@perkinsms) January 25, 2013
After getting doored yesterday for my first time in SF I’ve got a bike messenger interview today. Hope I make it there safe!
— Matthew McKenna (@mpmckenna8) January 25, 2013
Just ‘doored’ a kid in the Tesco car park! Serves him right for running around really.
— Joe Boissevain (@JoeBoe1) January 25, 2013
Designated bike lanes help cyclists avoid the fate of that poor kid, with a 50 percent lower rate of biker injuries than on streets without them. Where lanes are protected and set off from car traffic, there are 90 percent fewer injuries.
Why don’t basic bike lanes provide more protection? Because car-drivers still don’t really give a shit about them. Car-drivers like this Los Angeles cop, for instance:
After watching this video, I kind of feel like these dooring laws are stupid and asinine, too, because clearly they aren’t getting results. I’m down with the League of Courteous Cyclists, but I’m also down with Bike Riders for Car Vengeance.