For cyclists who have been involved in a collision with an automobile, the thought of getting back on a bike can be both daunting and liberating. Whether the collision occurred because the driver was impatient or unaware, because the bicyclist made a dangerous or risky maneuver, or because there was insufficient infrastructure, accidents force riders like me to re-evaluate the connection between our bodies and our bicycles.
The relationship between person and bicycle is manifested by the physical work of the body on the bicycle, and it takes on an entirely new meaning after you are injured. Riding my bike today for the first time since my collision three weeks ago, I felt this connection once again, albeit with a heightened understanding of the risks associated with riding.
On the morning of Wednesday, January 8th, I was “doored” while bicycling to work. Getting doored entails the occupant of a vehicle opening their car door while a cyclist is approaching in the “door zone” (the 3.5-5 foot zone which an opened door typically spans into or obstructs the roadway), causing a collision. The technical language that applies in the California Vehicle Code is:
22517. No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open upon the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
Admittedly, this was not a typical incident because I was attempting to pass a vehicle on the right side. (Oops.) We’ll get to what’s wrong with that in the next post…
I was riding in the right-most travel lane on Bundy Dr. We were stopped at a red light and there was a Santa Monica Big Blue Bus loading passengers at a designated bus stop. I was late to work, and rushing to catch this particular bus. There was only one car stopped behind this bus, which I decided to pass on the right in order to mount the sidewalk and hurry onto my cross-town ride.