Gov’t For Gov’ts Sake: Raleigh Considers Regs To Safeguard Bicyclists From Opening Car Doors

Here’s the story:

(WRAL) The rules of the road could be changing for Raleigh drivers to make streets safer for bicyclists.

A public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall to discuss changes to Raleigh’s bicycle ordinance, including requiring drivers to check their rear-view mirrors after they park on a street to make sure the coast is clear before opening their doors.

The change, which has the backing of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission, would prevent “dooring,” which happens when a cyclist crashes into an open car door.

Here’s the thing: how can it be enforced? So far, the penalty hasn’t been spelled out. How could anyone prove a person didn’t look? If you open the door and a bicyclist runs into the door, you might have looked but failed to see them on the road zooming around. Maybe they cut in and out of traffic. If you’re like me, you look in the sideview mirror before opening the door when you park on the street. You may even move your whole head back. Ever have a close call even though you looked? I’ve been driving for almost 30 years, and have a couple close calls. And, believe me, I pay attention to what’s going on. I may need glasses, but I have incredible peripheral vision.

While we certainly want to protect bicyclists, they have to take responsibility and understand that riding on the streets is inherently unsafe, and they need to take precautions.


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One Response to “Gov’t For Gov’ts Sake: Raleigh Considers Regs To Safeguard Bicyclists From Opening Car Doors”

  1. gitarcarver says:

    I hear what you are saying Teach. I really do.

    I used to ride a lot in the city and I can tell you that bikes are darn near invisible. The natural reaction is for the cyclist to ride more aggressively but that doesn’t work very well.

    The reason is that it feeds a loop of destructive behaviour between cyclists and motorists.

    By law, cyclists are supposed to ride within the traffic laws as any car or other motorized vehicles. Yet other cars and vehicles don’t treat bikes as equals. Drivers hate bikes because they don’t follow the laws of the road. Cyclists don’t follow the laws of the road because if they do, they get killed or injured.

    It’s circular.

    If there is a law that requires drivers to look before opening their doors or which holds a driver responsible for opening a door in front of another vehicle, I have no problem extending that to protection to cyclists.

    At the same time, I have no problem with cyclists being ticketed for not obeying the laws of the road.

    It’s a goose and gander type thing to me.

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