The Door Zone

The door zone is an area spanning around 1.3m from the side of a parked car. This is the potential width most car doors can open when someone is getting out. Many cycle lanes go along parked cars and actively promote that cyclists cycle in this door zone. The potential risk to cycling in this zone is death.

What is going to happen if someone opens the door in front of you?

  • You’re either going to swerve out into the road, where traffic behind/next to you could hit you.
  • You’re going over the door and land in the road, the initial impact could be life threatening, but leaving you lying in the road could lead to you getting run over.
  • You’re going to clip the side of the door and get thrown into the road, where passing vehicles could run you over.
  • You’re going to go into the edge of the door and the corner of the door will hit you in the head/face, leading to nasty injuries.

Any of the above options aren’t good outcomes for a cyclist. Each has been known to kill a cyclist in ways described above.

What should you do to protect your self? Cycle as far away from parked cars as possible. In some cases you may need to take control of the whole lane to also prevent cars from driving next to you if there isn’t enough space.

Watch the video below that explains the door zone with good effect.

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    Meeting Road Safe London

    Road Safe London is a website which anyone can use to report dangerous/careless driving, uninsured/unlicensed/disqualified drivers and drink drivers. The system is open for anyone to use and it’s really simple and fast to fill in and submit. It’s run by the Metropolitan Police Traffic unit and is designed to help make London’s roads safer.

    I’ve been using this system for a few months now and have submitted many of my videos to them for review. The officers that run it have certainly taken a liking to the videos submitted by my self and others, and I was asked if I would like to come in and have a chat about the system and run through a video of mine to see where I can improve my own cycling style for my safety.

    Obviously this was a great opportunity and I took them up on it. Today was the day that I went to meet them, talk about the system and review one of my commutes. I was greeted by a friendly group of traffic officers that all wanted a chat. We talked about Road Safe, why it was made, what it’s aims are, The Exchanging Places scheme and how I can be a better cyclist. Below I have listed more information about what was said on each point.

    Road Safe:

    As I said above, road safe is a website which anyone can use to report dangerous/careless driving, uninsured/unlicensed/disqualified drivers and drink drivers. This can be used by anyone to report anyone, although from what I gathered, it’s mostly cyclists that are using it at present.

    They sometimes go over some of the reports submitted and obviously video evidence such as mine can bring up some good debates. With many people, with great and valuable experience looking over the incidences that are reported, you can be sure that any response you get is going to be a good one.

    Exchanging Places:

    Having been on this, I know exactly what it really shows you, and any one that has the opportunity to go and sit in a lorry and see the blind spots, I would strongly suggest them to do so.

    They told me about the history, and where the want to take it. I raised an issue from my point of view ‘It’s not widely advertised’, the response I got was ‘How would you suggest we advertise it?’ and that is a very interesting question. From my view, as a cyclist who probably doesn’t need to go on it, it’s very hard to say what they could do to get the right people into the lorries. They have got plans to target more people and anyone they can educate is time well spent.

    My Cycling:

    I had brought along a full length video of my commute, unfortunately due to the restrictions on their computers, we weren’t able to view the videos. But the officers had a great memory, and talked me through a few of my incidences and various things they noticed about my riding. Various things were suggested, such as dodgy pot holes and man-hole covers on the near side rather than out into the road.

    An interesting point they made, is that they thought, in some cases, that I should cycle as if I was a motorcyclist. Not so easy for me to picture, as I’ve never done a CBT and have never been on a scooter or motorcycle. What this lead to was positioning on the road and planning ahead, planning ahead is never something I felt was something I struggled with, I look for pot holes and situations where I can slow down to avoid an incident. But from talking to them, and listening to a few of their examples, it was clear that I’m not planning ahead as well as I thought. The best bit of advice was ‘Always expect the worst, and act on it, if it does happen then you’re not surprised and you can avoid it. If it doesn’t happen your no worse off.’ Some very good words from a clearly experienced officer!

    To sum it up, the work the traffic unit are doing is fantastic. The road safe tool makes reporting minor incidences to the police very easy and fast. The police will review each case and take action if required. It’s great to know that the people behind the system are very experienced and know what they are talking about.

    Cycle SuperHighway

    It was announced yesterday by Boris Johnson that route 3 & 7 would be finished on the 19th of July 2010. With only a few weeks left to go before they open, there is a noticeable increase in the work that is going on with route 7. Before there where only 2 test junctions, then 3, and now they are painting the blue lanes all along the route from Tooting to Colliers wood. Some of it is great but at the junctions where it matters most, it is lacking in design and continues to put cyclists in the gutter.

    On of my videos has been featured on several blogs and news sites, mostly bike related (Bikeradar.com, road.cc and Dave Hills London blog at the Guardian). But with Boris’ news yesterday it seems that more people are latching on to news and giving me and my videos publicity. Thats great and i hope that the more coverage this gets the more likely a decent outcome happens.

    Today it was featured on the Guardian Bike Blog and in the CTC news letter cycleclips. This meant that today alone I got more than 2,500 views on that one video, making the total now over 7,000 views in a month.

    Below are some other videos on the super highway, showing the latest additions to the layout.

    Primary Position and Squeezing

    Primary position is key in some positions and this is one of them. The left lane keeps going straight and the right lane goes to the right. But drivers try to squeeze in where they can from the right lane into the left. I will let drivers in if it’s safe but when someone starts taking the piss like the following one it’s not clever. The driver knows where I am, and even when I sound my horn he continues to squeeze me.  In the end I have to give way and brake, he isn’t going to want to hit the traffic island, so he will turn into me and I will get hurt, I don’t want that!

    BMX kid trying to show off

    Today I witnessed a school kid trying to show off on his BMX, being the usual arrogant teenager and thinking he is invincible. Weaving through cyclists and traffic and doing endo’s and wheelies, skidding on pavements and jumping red lights. It was quite funny when one chap shouted out do it again!

    SMIDSY

    Standing for ‘Sorry mate i didn’t see you’ a term often heard by cyclists and motorbike riders from drivers of vehicles who didn’t look when doing something. I get my fair share of these on my weekly commute but today I thought i was going to be taken out by one.

    The driver of WU06HSJ turns into Canterbury Road from London Road in Thornton Heath, Croydon. His view was partly blocked by a white van turning out of Canterbury Road, i was forced to brake heavily, and swerve out of the cycle lane to avoid a collision with his car. After i tell him he is on film and that he is being reported for this, i get a load of expletives shouted at me. Some PCSO’s are further up the road, i stop to check if they saw it and get their badge numbers.

    It would have been hard to anticipate this as his view is totally blocked by the van and thus i can’t actually see him. Totally stupid! I should have done better to anticipate this.

    Video: sound didn’t record on my Contourhd, and thus i have taken the sound from the muvi and matched it to the footage from the contourhd

    Cycle Superhighway Route 7

    With major work set to start on route 7 of the London cycle superhighway in the next week or two, some doubt is coming into my mind. Although i’m confident that this will bring more people out of their cars and onto a bicycle during the summer months, which can only be a good think. I’m not so confident in the design of some of the test junctions, at present the road layout hasn’t been changed at any and only a blue strip has been painted on the ground. With the aim of the cycle superhighways is to allow cycling commuters to travel in mass from the out skirts of London and into the centre of the city. Safety should really be a priority and at some junctions it clearly hasn’t been thought out, at some points it is best for a cyclist to control the lane and cycle in the middle to attempt to prevent dangerous overtaking, nothing to accommodate or hint towards this has yet to be seen.

    I shall post more videos and news on this cycle route as it progresses.