Stop the dooring!

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Anonymous's picture

"Three years ago, the Taxi & Limousine Commission agreed to put stickers in cabs to remind people to ""check for cyclists."" Yet they still haven't done it.

Not all doorings are caused by cabs, of course. But cabs' sole purpose is to pick up and discharge passengers, which means many doors opening into our path. And enough New Yorkers, tourists, and suburbanites take cabs that the stickers' message will sink in eventually.

Please take a moment to mail, e-mail, or fax a letter to the TLC demanding that they make good on their promise. If all 1,700 members of the NYCC were to do this, it might get their attention.

In the next couple of days I will also post sample letters to send to our city council members and to the NYPD (whose practice of not ticketing for dooring unless witnessed by an officer is their own policy, NOT mandated by law).

Noah from TA has reviewed this letter. Also, the NYC Bicycle Coalition will consider an anti-dooring campaign at its next meeting. Would the NYCC membership stand behind it? Do we want things to change?

Let's raise some hell on this issue, kids, before it happens again.


You can read more about TA's sticker campaign at


Commissioner Matthew W. Daus
NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission
40 Rector Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10006
Fax: (212) 676-1101

Dear Commissioner Daus:

I'm writing to urge you to require cab and livery drivers to install stickers instructing passengers (and themselves) to look for cyclists before opening the vehicle door. The latest dooring injury inflicted on a cyclist by a cabdriver, as reported in the Daily News on June 20, is a horrible tragedy that might have been prevented.

I understand that the Commission agreed in 2003 to install stickers reading ""Check for Cyclists,"" and that a draft design was produced at the time of the May 2004 fare hike. Yet as of mid-2006, the plan still has not been implemented. Why?

Meanwhile, more than 12,000 cabs on New York streets continue picking up and discharging passengers without this simple but life-saving reminder. Transportation Alternatives reports that 1,000 cyclists are injured and three to four killed every year by dooring.

Dooring is also illegal, according to NYC VTL §4-12-c, which states: ""No person shall get out of any vehicle from the side facing on the traveled part of the street in such manner as to interfere with the right of the operator of an approaching vehicle or bicycle.""

You have the power to help prevent more needless injuries and deaths. Please use it now.



Anonymous's picture
bill vojtech (not verified)
I was doored...

I was doored when I was a new cyclist. Since then I don't ride close enough to cars to get doored. Lesson learned, problem solved.

Anonymous's picture
Richard (not verified)
I Doubt if the Stickers Will Make Much of a Difference

As someone who was doored last year and has 16 stitches and a scar to remind him how painful it can be to be doored, I think that the sticker plan is unlikely to be successful. The main reasons are that the passenger in the back of a cab or car does not have a rearview mirror to see if anyone is coming from behind and with a narrow space between a stopped car, the passenger knows no car can fit through and assumes that no one could be in that space moving quickly enough to get hurt if he collides with an opened door.

To me, the better solution is to be overly cautious when riding next to stopped cars. Super slow is the way to go. Assume every door will suddenly fly open. I try to look into the cars and at the rearview mirrors to see any sign of an exiting passenger. An especially dangerous situation is when many cars are stopped for a red light parallel to parked cars. A rider is tempted to assume that the cars in the driving lane are waiting for the light to turn green but many passengers exit while waiting at a red light. I used to zip between cars in this situation and enjoy how much faster I can travel than the cars. Not any more...

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
Sorry to hear about your injury

There are no panaceas. But that shouldn't stop us from using any means at our disposal, including posting notices in 12,000 cabs, to remind people of cyclists' presence. Individual solutions aren't enough. Wouldn't you like to see someone else spared the pain you went through?

Anonymous's picture
Stéphane (not verified)


The whole lane was empty in front of me on Queens Boulevard (between 57th and 58th streets, one of the rare blocks I judged safe on that bld!), a yellow cab was slow in the left lane, I was riding (at 17 mph) in the left side of my lane not to get doored from the right side by one of the parked cars, when the passenger flung the door open in front of me. She admitted everything, apologized to me and to the driver who was jumping up and down holding his head, he was not aware she was getting out, I think he was waiting for me to pass him to bring her near the curb on the right side.

Of course, had I been riding at 4 miles an hour, I would have hit the door at that speed (it opened right in front of me, I had no time to veer), but there was no other car in front of me on that block, so I consider I was cautious. Being cautious is not enough. The police accident report states ""Rear passenger did open passenger side rear door w/out looking"". I guess that means the cab insurance will cover my medical expenses and pay for my bike repairs and my new helmet (recently there was a thread about the usefulness of helmets, I wonder how my brain would be after colliding with a door at 17 mph without a helmet).
This happened to me although I consider each car in New York as a potential danger, some (cabs and SUVs) more than others. One of the doctors who treated me got doored once just outside CP: he had looked to be sure that nobody was in the stopped cab in the middle of the street who might opened the door, he got doored, then saw a tiny old lady getting out of the cab, too short to be seen from behind...
Being cautious is important but it's not enough."

Anonymous's picture
Fixer (not verified)
how my brain would be

"Like no one's ever crashed a bike at 17mph and lived to tell the story. Please...

Helmets make cycling look dangerous, like tackle football in the asphalt schoolyard, or something.

THAT keeps folks off bikes, and THAT keeps you and me a just a blip on the radar, a fly on the windshield.

No amount of ""education"" is gonna keep Joe Commuter from thinking twice before he throws that door open. Bike? It never even occurred to him.

But if he or his wife/kid/boss/buddy/neighbor rides a bike, it just might. It's all in the numbers."

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
"""It's all in the numbers"""

"Like no one's ever crashed a bike at 17mph and lived to tell the story. Please..

It all depends on how you crash. Simply falling off the bike at 17mph and eating pavement is one thing. Hitting something of much greater mass, head-on, like a taxi, at such speed is another - and a much more likely deadly affair.

Besides that's a much faster speed/force AND mass applied than your tackle football on asphalt. If physics isn't enough to tell you such is dangerous that some stats will.

On average 3 to 4 deaths occur each year to cyclists in NYC alone as a result of dooring and a 1,000 more injured.

No amount of ""education"" is gonna keep Joe Commuter from thinking twice before he throws that door open.

If such is so, then why have fatalties from drunk driving steadily dropped over the past 3 decades? Way more people die from incidences of distracted driving now than from DUI, by like a multpile of 3 or 4.

DUI penalites country wide are quite stiff and give plenty of incentive not to drive drunk. Other than the state of CT, distracted driving laws are nonexistant.

Additionally, law enforcement and the public at large have an apathetic attitude about distracted driving and dooring.

Dooring someone is currently illegal. Like DUI, combine punitive/civil/criminal charges along with ""education"", and that will go a long way to remedy the problem.

Apathy and indifference wont get it done for sure.

Anonymous's picture
Ron (not verified)

While we have to take responsibility for ourselves not getting into those situations, public awareness can make a notable difference.

With respect to stickers, a colorful, well designed, attention grabbing one will get read. There are a lot of things to read in the back of the cab and this one needs to stand out -- graphics, as many Ne Yorkers/tourists don't read English.

Anonymous's picture
Ron Thomson (not verified)

"Anything that can raise the awareness would be a good thing.

I was doored last month by a town car that was stopped in the outside lane. I was riding in the clear inside lane keeping to the outside portion of the lane to avoid being doored by a parked car (like Stephane). The door flew open right in front of me. The person also happened to be on their cell phone at the time. I remember hearing the person say ""someone on a bike just hit me.""
The limo driver proceeded to shout at me for damaging his door while I was lying on the ground trying to come to terms with what had just happened. Neither the passenger or the driver once enquired as to my well being.
We all need to do what we can to improve the situation for all cyclists."

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
A recorded announcement w/ the meter turn-off.

"A few years ago cabs had recorded announcements, not that I recall what they said. It seems to me when the cabbie stops his meter, that could activate a recording, ""Do NOT open the door before looking out to see if there is a cyclist approaching."""

Anonymous's picture
Ron Thomson (not verified)

"I believe this was the ""buckle up"" campaign. The Rockettes, Joe Torre etc...

Good idea about the anouncement Richard.

Also just heard about the serious accident on the west side bike path last night involving a NYPD tow truck and a bicyclist. not good."

Anonymous's picture
Tom Laskey (not verified)
Not a bad idea in concept but...

"From what I remember, everybody HATED those announcements. The only reason they kept them going on as long as they did was because Mayor Rudy liked them. And, I read later, studies showed there were more passenger injuries due to not using seat belts than the period prior to the use of the announcements.

Perhaps if they were done with a soothing voice like telephone operator recordings and short and to the point: ""Please look behind you before opening door"" or something like that. That might work.

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