Exploring or commuting across the Bay Area by bike may help you beat traffic and stay fit, but it also comes with inherent risks. As more motorists take to Northern California’s streets, the higher your risk of a car-on-bike collision. Incidents involving dooring, or a driver opening his or her car door in the path of a passing cyclist, are becoming increasingly common across the state and nation.
According to SFGate, San Francisco, alone, saw 203 dooring incidents on its streets between 2012 and 2015. Safety advocates also assert that dooring contributes to between about 12% and 27% of all urban car-on-bicycle collisions.
Avoiding the death zone
What might you do to reduce the chances of being a victim of dooring while traveling by bike? Some call the space where a car door extends into a bike lane “the death zone,” and you should try to avoid this area anytime you travel by bike. Try to ride on the outside margin of the bicycle lane and try to keep at least three feet of space between your bike handlebars and car doors.
Taking the lane
Another safety measure many recommend is “taking the lane,” which means sharing the same lane used by motorists when you are on your bike. This creates its own set of hazards, though, and it may, too, make motorists angry or aggressive.
Anytime you navigate urban areas by bike, it pays to exercise caution and vigilance. Avoid listening to music or podcasts while bicycling through urban areas, and do not count on other drivers to notice or avoid you, either.