Car doors that fly open

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Anonymous's picture

Yesterday I was cruising along my merry way when all of a sudden a car door flew open and I went straight into it. I wasn't too injured (sore lower back; minor grazes; nothing that I couldn't ride home under my own steam). Bike isn't too badly damaged other than that I'll need new handlebars.

Incident was unavoidable on my part (door wasn't slighly ajar or anything like that - it literally flew open - and short of riding at around 5mph (I was probably doing 15mph) there was nothing I could do).

Taxi was dropping passenger off and was halfway in bike line on CPW (@ 73rd). Guy who opened door was old(er) and very unapologetic. I made taxi and old guy wait for cops who arrived in short order and thought (I think) that I ought not to have gotten them involved and who sort of coaxed me into not filing an official report.

Any thoughts on similar situations/calling cops/etc. would be appreciated. Thanks.

Anonymous's picture
bill (not verified)

You have a to ride a lot more defensively in the city. Especially riding next to a stopped Taxi. What else do they stop for?!

Stay more than a door's width away from parked cars. Even in a bike lane, which few drivers in this city notice or understand anyway. You're safer in the middle of traffic than riding close next to parked cars.

While I totally sympathise with the situation (it happens all the time), part of me is tempted to suggest you had it coming. Be glad that it wasn't worse.

Trust no motor vehicle and be visible and predictable.

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
Agreed - be vigilant

"On the other hand, the Police Officer should have written a summons to the individual opening the door as he clearly violated your right-of-way. That's driver's ed.-101 : NYS driver's manual - Chp 11 Sharing the Road


Anonymous's picture
Michael (not verified)
Had it coming???

You've got to be kidding, sure we all should ride defensively but he hardly had it coming.

The motorist is legally obliged to never open a door into traffic (granted that law was probably written to keep cars from taking eachothers doors off but it still stands), if they open the door into traffic they are at fault. I'm sure someone knows the regulation reference to that., if opening a door into a cycling lane from a stopped cab they should expect you to be there.

The police should have been forced to write an official report as the cab and passenger were liable for injuries and repairs.

Anonymous's picture
Katie (not verified)

I'm glad to hear you were not hurt. Don't listen to the people telling you you had it coming! I can't believe what some people say on this message board...

But anyway the point of my post is I try to look at the light's on the top of the cabs as they turn on and off when they are available or not.

Glad you aren't hurt!

Anonymous's picture
jeff (not verified)

this is the right rear door, or the left rear door?

Anonymous's picture
J (not verified)
Re: Had it coming

Thanks for the support Michael.

Bill: I do ride defensively and while I hope that you never suffer a similar inconvenience, to the extent that I had it coming in this particular instance, every single cyclist has it coming. Next time a car door swings open (and I'm not talking about a gentle opening) and you have all of 0.5 seconds before impact, let me know how you react.

I take solace only in the fact that (a) I wasn't or don't seem to be badly injured and (b) every cyclist will have accidents.

Anonymous's picture
April (not verified)
Not clear...

...what you're looking advice on. How to avoid the accident in the first place? Or how to deal with the cop/annoyed driver/passenger after the fact?

On the former, the advice of NEVER ride less than one door width from any parked or stopped car is THE solution.

On the later, get the licence plate and the passenger's name and address. With the cop on the scence, that should not be too hard to accomplish. I would have file an official report anyway if you've already taken the time to wait for them to arrive. But you don't absolutely have to file a report right on the spot to have recourse in a later time.

Anonymous's picture
bill (not verified)

You want sympathy or advice that could save your life? Maybe my choice of words was indelicate but it's not like I think you deserved it. I'm very glad you were not hurt. I have been doored before and fortunately the worst damage was a grease spot I left on the nice leather upolstery of the mercedes that once hit me.

But I've had many close calls and what saved me each time was not riding close to any car's door and always anticipating that someone will very likely open their door when a car is stopped or slowing.

I'd rather take up a lane and ride behind or in front of traffic. And I never never never never trust a cab driver or their passenger.

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
Amen to that

I got doored once - tried to go to the right of a cab that stopped and blocked two lanes - I blame myself for not anticipating it.

After that I began to believe that I was invisible, that I was responsible for anything and everything that occurred to me. Now I simply believe that anything made of metal can kill me - manhole covers, steel street plates, baby strollers, rollerblades, other bicycles, etc.

Anonymous's picture
J (not verified)
Re: Not clear

Just looking to see how other people have responded/would have responded in a similar situation. Your responses have been helpful.

Not looking to sue or threaten to sue or anything like that (though that was the first thing on old guy's mind). Just wanted a public record of the fact which is why I called the police.

cycling trips