Standard safety practice requires warning about hazards that cannot be eliminated. One of the greatest hazards of cycling in the city is a suddenly-opened car door.
Doors can poise a hazard for pedestrians too. In the top photo at right, the black/yellow stripe on the floor warns of the danger area from a suddenly-opening door. The stripe tells people walking there to stay out of the door zone.
The door zone is a bigger hazard for cyclists because of their greater speed and the risk of falling under the wheels of passing traffic. So why do bike lanes lead cyclists into danger instead of warning them away? See the middle photo (from “Bicycle Friendly” Washington, DC).
These hazards can have deadly consequences, as shown at bottom. Dana Laird, a Tufts University graduate student was riding in a door-zone bike lane heading to a Boston Red Sox game when someone opened a car door. She was knocked under the rear wheels of a passing bus and killed.
While motorists should be more careful opening car doors, cyclists can reduce their dooring risk to ZERO simply by riding at least 5-6 feet from parked cars. This kind of “accident” is 100% preventable. Luring cyclists into danger is simply inexcusable.
For some safer ways to promote bicycling, see Best Practices of Cycling Advocacy.