Cops ticket biker hit by car door

This is from Madison, Wisconson. Apparently, in that state, there isn’t a state law against opening a car door in a careless manner, but there is a state law against riding a bicycle within three feet of a parked or standing vehicle.

I don’t think that is a bad law since people like to open car doors cars without looking. A couple of times, I would have run right into someone’s car door if I wasn’t taking the lane. Taking the lane makes avoiding the doors so easy and if she had been following that law, she would have been “out there.”

But the Wisconsin three feet law conflicts with her and other people’s notion of where a bicycle should be. And, as the articles mention, Madison has bike lanes that are also in Door Zones.

She is fighting the ticket.

“I’m going to fight this because it’s not right,” Willsey, 50, told 27 News.

“Most bikers who bike regularly are very wary when they’re travelling along a line of parked cars,” Willsey said. “But you’ve got traffic on the other side, so you’re trying to find a safe zone between the parked vehicle that could open a door on you, and the traffic.”

27 News used a tape measure in a downtown Madison bike lane, and discovered if a bicyclist maintained the legal clearance of three feet, the bicyclist would in the third of the lane closest to traffic.

She should fight it, but not for the reason she is stating.

1 reply
  1. Keri
    Keri says:

    “I don’t think I was riding my bike dangerously close,” says Willsey. “I was at a reasonable distance.”

    Seems to me if you got hit by the door, you weren’t at a reasonable distance, huh?

    She should be counting her blessings she was not run over and killed!

    Ticketing the injured cyclist is over the top. In Florida, the driver would have been legally at fault for opening the door into traffic. That is how it should be. And cyclists should stay out of the door zone because legal responsibility would be irrelevant to them if they were dead.

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