How to avoid the door zone when cycling

Herald.ie reported yeasterday how Labour councillor for Dublin City, Dermot Lacey, suffered what is called a “dooring” while he was cycling to a local policing forum meeting. Cllr Lacey was lucky in avoiding severe injury and walking away with only a “few cuts and bruises”, but what is dooring and how do you avoid it?

Dooring is quite simply getting hit by a car door which the driver or a passenger opens while you are cycling past. The door zone is the area where car doors open into. Taking Morehampton Road in Donnybrook where Cllr Lacey had his unfortunately incident as an example, the area we have marked in yellow in the below image is roughly the door zone:

Capture aaa

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To avoid dooring and injury which goes with it, you should cycle outside this area, in the middle of the bus lane.

Yes, the door zone area fully covers the narrow, broken-lined cycle lane. This cycle lane inside the bus lane and the turning lane along this road is as useless as many of the same type which should be removed and replaced with dedicated cycle lanes or paths. Car parking taking up space on both sides of the road on such roads over to parking is an unfair and unsustainable use of space — buses and bicycles should not be sharing the same space. It is not safe and it stands in the way or making buses and cycling more attractive.

A short-term solution is to use the bus lane design outlined in the National Cycle Manual. This is where the broken-laned cycle lane is removed and large bicycle logos are painted in the lane:

5615_2010-05-10_cad.dgn 4.3.3.1_Combined-Bus-Lane_3D

With car parking inside the bus lane, cycling in the position shown above would avoid the door zone.

Another example of Morehampton Road from Google Street View to show exactly how narrow the cycle lanes on Morehampton Road are: When a car cannot or just does not park close to the kerb, the cycle lane is half consumed by the car:

parking

 

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2 comments

  1. Thanks for that advice. The morning I was hit the Bus lane was actually quite busy – with busses. We do need to develop and improve cycling facilities but above all we need to encourage good behaviour by all road users.

    Reply
  2. That particular part of Morehampton Road is so dangerous to cyclists that I add distance to my commute to avoid it.

    Motorists in Denmark are taught to open their car doors to with their non-door hand (that’d be the left in Ireland). This forces drivers to lean around far enough to see out the door as it opens and avoid hitting bicycles. It’s a neat trick, easy to teach and it works.

    Reply

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