How NOT to get hit by a car: Pt. 2


Collision Type #2: The Door Prize

The Door Prize

A driver opens his door right in front of you. You run right into it if you can’t stop in time. This kind of crash is more common than you might think: It’s the second-most common car-bike crash in Toronto,(source) and the #1 crash Santa Barbara.(source)  
How to avoid this collision:
Ride to the left. Ride far enough to the left that you won’t run into any door that’s opened. You may be wary about riding so far into the lane that cars can’t pass you easily, but you’re more likely to get doored by a parked car if you ride too close to it than you are to get hit from behind by a car which can see you clearly.

Collision Type #3: The Crosswalk Slam

Crosswalk Slam

You’re riding on the sidewalk, cross the street at a crosswalk, and a car makes a right turn, right into you. Drivers aren’t expecting bikes in the crosswalk, and it’s hard for them to see you because of the nature of turning from one street to another, so it’s very easy for you to get hit this way. In fact, this collision is so common we’ve lost track of the number of people who’ve told us they were hit this way. One study showed that sidewalk-riding was twice as dangerous as road riding, and another study said it’s even more dangerous than that.

How to avoid this collision:
1. Get a headlight.
 If you’re riding at night, a headlight is absolutely essential.
2. Slow down. Slow down enough that you’re able to stop completely if necessary.
3. Don’t ride on the sidewalk in the first place. Crossing between sidewalks is a fairly dangerous maneuver. If you do it on the left-hand side of the street, you risk getting slammed as per the diagram. If you do it on the right-hand side of the street, you risk getting slammed by a car behind you that’s turning right. Sidewalk riding also makes you vulnerable to cars pulling out of parking lots or driveways. And you’re threatening to pedestrians on the sidewalk. These kinds of accidents are hard to avoid, which is a good reason to not ride on the sidewalk in the first place. In addition, riding on the sidewalk is illegal in some places. Just make sure when you do cross a street or driveway that you slow down and check the traffic in all directions, especially behind you if you’re riding with the flow of traffic.

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