If you’re a city cyclist, you live in fear of car doors. On your right, there’s often a line of parked cars, most of them sitting silently, harmlessly, empty. But inside some of them lurks that most dangerous of creatures — a human being — just waiting to stupidly open up the door in your path, giving you the terrible choice of a) swerving into the parked cars, b) swerving into traffic, or c) hitting the door and flying either head-first off your bike or helter-skelter into traffic and under the wheels of a car which will kill you.
It’s scary. And, as a cyclist, there’s not much you can do about it. But as a driver there is. And at Atlantic Cities, Sarah Goodyear points out that it’s a really, really simple thing: Change which hand you use to open the car door.
I’ve recently seen a few mentions of what seems to be the simplest and most elegant fix of all: train drivers to open their doors with their right hands when they’re exiting the car, forcing them to turn their bodies so that they are automatically looking over their shoulders (in countries with right-wheel drive, obviously, the hands would be reversed).
And then — and this is the key part — DON’T OPEN THE DOOR IF YOU SEE A CYCLIST COMING.
Or, you know, we could build protected, separated bike lanes. But this is a good start.