Dooring; Cool and Wet

February 17th, 2012

Yesterday, I went to the Boston Cyclists Union meetup around the Climate Ride. It was lovely to meet or reacquaint myself with all those folks. In fact, you can sponsor one of the three (four?) riders from the BCU and the organization will get that donation! (or an extra donation? Anyone more knowledgeable care to clarify?)

One of the people I met says he has been doored five times; four times in the last year. He quoted the old biking proverb (in various forms), that there are two kinds of bikers: those who have been doored, and those who will be. Aside the obvious response, “you need to ride farther from the cars,” I offer up lifelong cyclists who have never been in any kind of crash (I know a few). It truly is not necessary for drivers or bikers who are operating defensively to get into crashes. Granted, it is difficult to practice that kind of safe riding in a very hostile environment, but I counter that Boston, even with its many bike-lane parkers, lack of driver signalling and heavy traffic, is not such an place.


Temperature: 44

Road condition: Wet (but not raining)

Clothing: Heavy winter coat,  timberland shoes, no rain pants

Comfort: Warm! I zipped into work today, and definitely ended up too warm despite opening my coat. I didn’t realize how high the temperature was when I started riding, or I would have gone with a lighter coat.

I’ll also note that last night I rode home in the light rain. The fenders and waterproof clothing (no rain pants, though) were sufficient for the 15 minute trip. The thighs on my pants were definitely wet, but it would probably have been rather unpleasant were I not going home and changing.

3 Responses to “Dooring; Cool and Wet”

  1. Rebecca Says:

    I have heard “that there are two kinds of bikers: those who have been doored, and those who will be.” That doesn’t have to be.

    I have been riding in Boston for almost 40 years. I have never been doored. Maybe I was lucky the first 20 years. Now I ride 5 feet from parked cars. Nor have I been right-hooked. Well,I have had cars take a right directly in front of me. When that happens I use my AirZounds air horn to let them know that I was not amused. You have be very alert when riding. Bicycling in the city leaves no time for woolgathering. My husband has been doored once in maybe 45 years of riding in Boston,though I think he rides too close to cars. My 23 year old son and my 26 year old daughter have not been doored and they have been cycling their whole lives here in Boston either on their own, or when they were young in a bike cart or on a child’s bike seat .I think my daughter is a cautious but assertive cyclist. My son cycles too fast in my opinion. He is an excellent cyclist though.

    All the time I see cyclists ride way too close to parked cars. Actually few cyclists ride far enough from parked cars. I think that there would be far more doorings but the odds must be pretty slim to getting doored. I do not intend to be among that number.

  2. cycler Says:

    I have been riding for transportation for 24 years, not all of them in Boston, but in other “hostile” cities like Houston. I’ve been riding daily in Boston for 5 1/2 years. I have never even come close to being doored. I was right hooked once 5 years ago, when I was filtering along slow traffic on a drop bar bike. That is the only accident I have been in, and it was low-speed and relatively painless-scraped knee as I threw myself sideways. I no longer filter unless cars are absolutely stopped (like in some ridiculous traffic jam).
    When someone tells me something like they’ve ben in 4 accidents in the last year, I want to say, “You’re doing something wrong.” Either that or they need to start playing the lottery.

  3. Weather Guy Says:

    Thanks for the replies, folks. I am glad to hear from very experienced bikers coming forth to say that, no, it is not necessary to have a collision on the road, and certainly not to have it happen with any frequency.

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