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Posted by on Sep 22, 2011 in Safety | 55 comments

Dooring Caught on Dashcam

UPDATE: As noted in the comments, the video was removed from YouTube. Serge and Danc both managed to get their hands on a download of it and emailed it to me. Unfortunately, original link does not go to the YouTube poster’s page, so I can’t credit the originator of this video. 

This video is shocking. But it is priceless in that it shows what happens when a bicyclist is struck by a car door. The right handlebar is stopped, jerking the wheel to the right and throwing the bicyclist into the road… into the path of an overtaking vehicle.

The video is the motorist’s view of this animation:

More on the door zone:

The Swinging Door

Preston’s Door Zone Demonstration

Never let paint think for you, Including Sharrows

KEEP YOUR HAPPY @$$ AT LEAST FIVE (5) FEET FROM PARKED CARS!

Got it?

Take a clue from the motorists. People don’t drive their cars in the door zone. Yet, I’ve never heard of a motorist being injured or killed by a suddenly-opened car door.

Hat tip to Jason for finding this on Reddit.

55 Comments

  1. It is shocking to watch, but will hopefully help educate cyclists.

    • Agree, but what about educating planners, engineers and infrastructure advocates?

      What if that unfortunate person on a bike was your friend or child, would they be so gun-ho?

      • I can’t tell you how many cyclists I see on the road riding in dangerous ways (tire track, wrong way, no lights at night), so education is important. Most ride their bikes as transportation which is great, but they need to know that there is a safer way to do so.

        As far as educating planners and such? Why? How is that going to change how cyclists ride? Sure, it would be great if the roads were better, but it’s not the roads that are the problem for the most part.

        • Shannon, you’d be stunned at how many planners and advocates make excuses for instructing people to ride in the door zone (by painting door zone bike lanes). “It encourages people to ride.” “More riders mean they’ll be safer.” One guy actually said he’d make people happier, even with the injuries from a dooring accident, because that person wouldn’t be sitting alone on his couch.
          It shocks _my_ conscience that people are so cavalier about endangering others.

          • I’ll add my comments for Shannon – we need to educate planners because their designs are educating motorists and other bicyclists. At a public meeting in DE a year ago I mentioned that the bike lane was in the door zone. The planner mentioned that a number of “bike people” had complained about it, but that the standard design allowed for a 4′-5′ bike lane next to parked cars and did not justify sharrows (35mph speed limit). He knew that a few transportation bicyclists road in the middle of the lane, and the motorists said they could usually pass right away, or wait for a few oncoming cars at the worst.

            Neverthless, he personally did not ride enough to be comfortable in the middle of the lane, and preferred to accept the risk of being doored rather than make motorists go around him.

            These bike lanes will be worse than useless, since many local motorists already think bicyclists are required be on the sidewalk or shoulder (no shoulder = no bicycling allowed). They do not understand why you refuse to ride in a lane marked especially for bicyclists. (Even the bike lanes marked to the right of right turn arrows)

            Any standards applied to lanes I see built must be far more permissive than AASHTO or safety rules. The planners usually have to reply to comments, but they still talk about when bicyclists do and do not have permission to leave the bike lane, and the final paint does not reflect any changes they agree to make when AASHTO standards are pointed out.

            The planner made it clear the bike lanes were designed to please the majority of the public (motorists and beginners). While it is obviously difficult to educate planners who reject the views of people who actually bicycle, I’m appalled that casual bicyclists are allowed to put other bicyclists in the door zone even after they are told of the problem.

          • Okay, that makes sense. However, a good deal of cyclists I see out there aren’t even utilizing the bike lanes that are there. I suppose it’s a full circle sort of thing here.

          • Let not Bike Lane bash to much here, even advanced riders find them useful.

            I think the only issue is bike lanes where there is on street parking. Considerable space is needed for that to really work. It can though, and helps a lot. Without on street parking, as long as the lane is not just a gutter, everyone wins.

            Bike lanes or a wide stripped shoulder is very valuable with the relative speeds of the two differ by 20MPH or maybe much much more, as on highways. Motorist tend to center their car between the left lane marker and the right lane marking. Having a bike lane, really helps to keep motorist in place, out of path of the cyclist. This is very useful in heavy traffic, where the motorist sitting on the left of his car, may not see the biker on the right side behind the panel van ahead.

            Problem with bike lanes is many motorist do not merge into a bike lane correctly to turn right, so bikers going straight are may need to consider to merge into the through vehicle lane to reduce chances of a right hook.

            Narrower lanes for motorist have a well proven effect of slowing traffic, too.

            So nothing perfect, but bike lanes built correctly, overall bring considerable safety, especially for less traffic savvy cyclists.

          • even advanced riders find [bike lanes] useful.

            I don’t understand what the alleged usefulness is.


            Bike lanes or a wide stripped shoulder is very valuable with the relative speeds of the two differ by 20MPH or maybe much much more, as on highways. Motorist tend to center their car between the left lane marker and the right lane marking. Having a bike lane, really helps to keep motorist in place, out of path of the cyclist. This is very useful in heavy traffic, where the motorist sitting on the left of his car, may not see the biker on the right side behind the panel van ahead.

            This is what many seem to imagine, but I’ve never observed this in practice. That is, on roads with wide lanes (no bike lane or shoulder stripe), motorists behave no differently as they tend to bias to the left, away from the edge, in wide lanes.

            In addition, when they do want to move right for some reason, the stripe does not seem to stop them. So I see no usefulness to the bike lane stripe (and thus the bike lane – the space – which may be useful – is there whether the stripe/bike lane is there or not).

            Don’t get me started on the problems bike lanes cause, to which you only begin to allude.

          • Sorry you feel bike lanes are totally wrong. There are a few pure roadies here, but vast majority in the SVBC blog appreciate well designed lanes. We do respect the difffence in opinion. Frankely in traffic’ here on the left coast, when the vehicle lanes are grid lcoked, and I sail by. Officers here rarely hassle.on staying in the bike lane, as many still are dated and poorly designed. In our area they we got great relationships with police tied through the BPACs, an officer monthly attending BPAC and issues worked on.. Makes me appreciate how good it is here.

            The LAB when I got my LCI we used them as appropriate. The one statement from the current LCI manual that has to apply certainly is “Bike lanes should be used only when they do not constitute a hazard due to their design”.

            I’m very familiar with the Lakeland area, and I can see how the maniditory rule to be in bike lanes approaching busy intersections there would be dangerous leaving no way to take the lane in a busy intersection.

            So, I hope we can respect each others take on this.

            Regards

          • I should qualify the. Zen relationship I infer with police and county, its nto quite so, we do have an issue with large group rides in more rural communities, and county board of supervisors banded them in some area. However the monthly San Jose bike party a very mellow mass ride at night of hundred actually has some loose hands off police support.

          • Patrick, I’m still not following. What is it about bike lanes that you believe makes them useful? Please consider your favorite bike lane, and imagine the bike lane stripe, symbols and signs are removed, but all other markings and pavement remain the same. Why would that be an less desirable?

    • Let’s see, riding in a door zone bike lane (DZBL) lulls novices into false security and every now and then BAMM. Think about it, the city
      puts the painted strip on the street to encourage cycling but “paper over” the dangers of DZBL, THAT is truly disgusting but not shocking.

      • In the bike lanes Fort Worth is putting in lately, the line shown in the video would be the right side of the bike lane, and a standard bike lane width over would be the left stripe of the bike lane. They are starting to figure it out.

        • If you ride close to the left line of the bike lane, many drivers will pass “too close” as in inches away. They reason that you are in your lane and they are in theirs, so if you choose to ride that way, whatever happens is your fault.

          • I find the opposite, but my only bike lane experience is on a residential collector where motorists are willing to move left over the centerline. I suspect it’s different on multilane roads because passing motorists don’t have as good a view of traffic in the lane to their left and are less willing to move into it.

          • If the bike lanes is unsafe, (door zone makes it so) then I think the rule and recommendation in LAB is to take right most vehicle lane in the direction of travel.
            Look at League of American Bicyclist site. You may find some officers that will ticket you, if so get good legal support in traffic court and let your area cyclist know to get active and educate your area police with this video and laws allowing to move out with a hazard.

            Every morning I have to take a mutltilane street since there is no other route. It clearly works easier for drivers and myself when I take the lane. They see me well ahead, in position that they have to pass like any other car, and they easily do. If you straddle the line you are inviting the driver to squeeze by.and that is why they are coming inches away.

            The league now has the 101 riding skills course online as an interactive video with quiz, courtesy of Houston police department.

          • “I think the rule and recommendation in LAB is to take right most vehicle lane in the direction of travel.”

            Except that is no longer legal in this state. I take the traffic lane, but if I strictly followed the Florida law and wanted to split the difference, then I would ride near the left line of the bike lane. I’ve tried that and cars passed very close.

            My personal preference is to plan my route so that bikes lanes are not an issue, but the more of them installed, the less effective that plan becomes.

        • Doohickie,

          Do you know the widths of the parking lane and bike lane in the Forth Worth bike lanes now being installed?

          • I’m glad they are improving. The one on Magnolia, installed a year or two ago, prompted me to choose a different route. If you click on the website link, it goes to a photo showing the Magnolia bike lane stripe relative to the painted over, but still visible, sharrow it replaced.

    • Educate cyclists?! Dooring a cyclist is illegal. There is nothing the person pedaling the bike could have done to avoid this criminal act. Hopefully this video will help educate motorists that opening a door into oncoming traffic is a crime.

      • “there is nothing the person could have done to avoid this criminal act”, except riding outside the door zone!

        Educate cyclists? Yes!! The primary lesson from doorings is that cyclists should NOT play Russian Roulette with car doors, since one them may be loaded. Facilities and even laws that encourage and/or require such behavior are pathological.

        • The facilities were not at fault, the motorist who opened their door into oncoming traffic is. Let’s be clear about this; dooring is illegal. Failure to yield to oncoming traffic with any part of the vehicle is illegal. Failure to make sure the lane is clear before entering or exiting the vehicle is illegal.

          • The facilities contribute to the create the dooring, by encouraging cyclists to ride in the door zone, cyclists themselves contribute by riding in the door zone, and the motorist completes the dooring by opening the door. All three factors are contributory, as well as the advocacy for such facilities, and the engineers who allow such hazardous designs to be in the state and federal standards.

            That the motorist is at legal fault is completely irrelevant to a cyclist who wishes to actively reduce their own risk or death or injury. The risk reducing cyclist chooses to ride outside the door zone, since as others have noted, it does a cyclist little good to if they’re dead or maimed, to seek monetary redress from the motorist; it won’t bring their life or destroyed tissue back.

            You are welcome to put you body in the door zone and sceam foul when a door hits you, and you or your survivors will have every right to seek legal redress in court, but as an educator, I’ll continue to hold up your attitude and behavior as exemplary of attitudes and behavior to avoid.

          • Motorists do illegal things all the time. Things which also harm pedestrians, and most commonly, other motorists.

            When I drive a car I use defensive driving strategies to counter the mistakes and violations committed by other motorists. Maybe instead I should just complain that other motorists don’t behave correctly and ask my local traffic engineers to install traffic control devices which would make me FEEL like I’m safer, but which would actually make me less safe. Then I could blithely drive along without a care in the world.

      • Which strategy is better for cyclists: insist that motorists become perfectly infallible, or learn how to avoid their mistakes? I find it much easier to control my own actions than to control the actions of all the motorists in my community.

  2. I’m glad the driver with the dashcam reacted so quickly and swung left. I don’t know if our elderly drivers would be that quick.

  3. Shared this on Facebook, and a friend pointed out minutes later that the video had been removed as a violation of YouTube’s shocking and disgusting content. I’m tempted to go search for any videos promoting door-zone bike lanes and flag them as such too…

    • Can’t have too much reality out there fouling up the bike lane fantasy.

  4. If I click replay I can still watch the video, but if you click on the link to go to youtube, you get a notice that says it was taken down due to their policy against shocking video.

  5. Keri,
    After looking closely at the video, I do not beleive it is like your animation. It looks to me like a completely uncontrolled bicyclist response, with no outward steering movement prior to door contact, to have the wheel clear the door. Instead the wheel hit the door and the collision dynamice were for the rear of the bike to swing around throwing the rider off. By the time the videographer comes along side, the bike had done a 180 degree rotation, with the rear wheel in front and the front wheel behind. At the point where the bike actually hits the ground, the rear wheel is in the street and the bike is perpendicualar (a 90 deg rotation) to the dooring car, with the front wheel still close to the door that stopped it. This observation is important because this clearly shows the dynamics of an uncontrolled dooring. By uncontrolled, I mean that the cyclist had not time to react or change their line, so the response is determined by the collision physics, which creates a large torque moment that throws the bicyclist into traffic in a direction different than that shown in the animation.

    It would be worth animating this specific collision, because it clearly shows what conservation of momentum does to a cyclist. Had there been traffic in the adjacent lane, the driver may captured a fatality with the cyclist in the right tire track being run over. The dynamics of this collision may be helpful in understanding crashes like the one that killed Dana Laird and others. I would love to get my hands on this raw video and do frame by frame analysis of it.

    - Dan -

    • You’re right. Your eyes are better than mine… on closer inspection, I can see he hit the door with the wheel.

  6. While it was still on youtube, you could have downloaded it (google for “how to download videos from youtube”).

  7. In fact, someone did download it and sent it to me. I sent Keri a copy.

    • Thank you, Serge! I uploaded it and used a podcast plugin to put it back in this post.

  8. Very useful video. Extremely good educational value. When I get teaching LCI classes it will be part of my instruction to make sure people keep out of door zone.

    I converted it to mov format to download play on Ipads

    http://siliconvalleytrails.pbworks.com/w/file/45961839/video.mov

    I find Youtube sensor very biased and inconsistent. For example they show several fatal base jumpers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvjgvXcxMsU.

    FYI Youtube can be reached at

    YouTube, LLC
    901 Cherry Ave.
    San Bruno, CA 94066
    USA
    Phone: +1 650-253-0000
    Fax: +1 650-253-0001

  9. Now that I’m able to view the video, I find something very disturbing about the speed of the door opening. The general speed of the video appears normal, in that the bicycle is operating at a reasonable speed and the landmarks about are passing normally, but the door on the motor vehicle appears to be opening at greater than normal speed. It appears to me that the operator of the vehicle may have performed the dooring intentionally. I do not open my door at such a great speed when I have to drive and park.

    • I once opened my door that fast because the wind caught it and ripped it out of my hand.

    • It’s hard to see detail, but it’s possible that the door was caught by the bicycle wheel as it was opening and the momentum whipped it the rest of the way open.

  10. I agree that whether the wheel or the handlebar hit the door first, the energy transferred from the bike will whip the door open, and I know Keri is doing a frame by frame analysis, as will I later tonight or this evening, since the dynamics of this collision are important in understanding exactly what happens during a dooring, and as i noted previously may help explain previous doorings as well as help us predict what will likely happen in future doorings.

  11. There is a youtube online that uses crash dummies that almost exactly duplicates this. Its in slow motion. There are only minor differences. In the crash dummy version the door is open a bit wider on impact, and 2 the bike handlebars are locked straight firmer than in real life.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJKbXH2cAyI

    Regards
    Pat

  12. FYI embedding the video: It can be embedded in a WordPress blog directly from Facebook using the WordPress Video Plug-in.

  13. The recent FL law change (mandatory bike lane use) is especially dangerous to recumbent riders. Recumbent riders while riding in the bike lane or on wide striped road edges are often masked by other traffic. Most of us are aware that there are plenty of distracted drivers on the road, and many of them are also following too closely the vehicle ahead. Such situations, combined with the tendency to drift laterally and move outside the striped area results in dangerously close passing or worse yet a collision with the recumbent rider.

    I would hope no one reading this would dispute these facts and I’m happy to discuss any of the points I’ve just made, but the facts as noted above represent a dangerous situation. This dangerous situation qualifies as a reason to not use a mandatory bike lane, but explaining that to an uninformed uniformed law enforcement officer is often useless, frustrating and ineffective.

    This past week I was riding in the lane on US1 in Holly Hill and was stopped by such an officer (stop number 28 in five years) and managed to not get cited. It was not on a roadway equipped with a bike lane and had there been one, I would have had a much tougher time arguing the above points.

  14. Keri,
    My own signle frame analysis is interesting. It would appear that the rider was NOT pedaling a bicycle, but was on a scooter or e-bike, since there is no leg movement prior to the collision, and the bike looks like it has an engine as it is twisting toward the camera vehicle. This could explain why the rider was thrown differently than the above video of the bicycle mounted crash test dummy posted by Patrick Grant.

    More to follow as I analyze more.

    - Dan -

  15. Yes, he’s sitting low on a powered bike and this explains why he doesn’t hit the door the way the crash teast dummy did. Unfortunately, this makes the video less representative of an actual bicycling crash, but still exemplary of the outward throw that often happens.

    • Do you have a feel for his speed? Seems like he is going as fast as the car with the video camera.

  16. The original raw video is still on YouTube, and it’s a longer 21 second version where you can clearly see he’s on a scooter:

  17. I’ve just uploaded a new video to the CyclistLorax channel on YouTube, which features this dooring plus 3 others and the crash dummy!

    Why You Should Avoid The Door Zone:

    • Love it!

      I see a white line and I want it painted black :-D

  18. The real issue is removing the cars.

    • Right. And until that happens…?

    • Get back with us when you’ve gotten rid of the cars in your town.

      • How about you start working on that one too, kay?

        • It’s easy to say “let them eat cake”, isn’t in Marie? Let’s just remove mistakes while we’re at it, that will solve all the problems, right? How about you start working on that one too, kay?

  19. It is amazing how much car centric people will fight to make things unsafe for youth cycling to school. They seem clueless about dooring, and a recent city safety committee composed of non cycling councilmen turned a blind eye.
    I got fed up with it. PLEASE HELP!

    Please help this you tube go viral to send a strong message to City and school board of Mountain View. Email Council would help too.

    Please view YouTube “MVHS Truman” or ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v… ) which is a collection of every dooriing scene on the web inter-spaced with youth at Mountain View High school riding the red sea double door zones. This is going to full council sometime soon. So spread this youtube around the country please!!

    The music is over the top, but it does elicit a deep emotional kick on the rapid succession of scenes.

    Background
    1 year ago city of Mountain View
    allowed an “experiment” over strong objections of cyclists, to allow
    street parking along the school side of Truman at Mountain View High where ther used to be none. This is being pushed by the school board. . The reason given is
    the marching band members had difficulties carrying their instruments
    from the parking lot to the band room. Now all the students biking
    in a hurry to class no longer a safe route to school and all of them
    have learned as a matter of expediency follow the most dangerous route
    possible. We ask you write, MVHS, parents, and Mountain View City
    Council.

    Please view YouTube MVHS Truman ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v… ). This is a very powerful video. Make Truman Safe Again!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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