T – The new way to avoid the door zone

The San Francisco Streetsblog recently posted about a new ‘system’ to keep cyclists out of the door zone which has been introduced by the
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency on a trial basis. The idea is to add a T next to parking spaces. This is meant to show the area of the door zone but to me it is rather confusing.

a 'T' on Howard Street

Is this really a good way to avoid the door zone? From what I have seen the vertical line of the T is painted out from the boundary line of the parking spaces, so if you cycle outside of the T then you should be just outside of the door zone.

How it could be better, but it still doesn't make sense

American states have tried several different ways to get work around the door zone. Most of them involving a form of sharrows but many of them don’t have borders so cyclists don’t stay out of the door zone.

Cyclists, like many road users, will stay in the lane markings provided, even if that means putting them in danger.  If the lane markings provided adequate space next to parked cars then KSI’s from doorings should be decreased. For example, the image below shows how there is a buffer between the cycle lane and parked cars and there is a boundary line on both sides of the cycle lane. This should keep most cyclists safe from the door zone as they follow the cycle lane away from the danger.

Chesterton Road, Cambridge

The T to me is another road marking which is confusing and is not self explanatory. The door zone is not known by many cyclists and if the road marking that is meant to save lives is not self explanatory as to what the danger is, then it doesn’t work.

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4 thoughts on “T – The new way to avoid the door zone

  1. Is there a danger, unless the boundaries are put everywhere, that it will increase incidents of drivers opening doors without looking, as they might assume that cyclists won’t be in the door zone? I don’t know, but it’s something to bear in mind.

  2. Having cycled a lot in the US
    -the door zone of the SUVs and big pickups are way bigger than most UK cars
    -shaded windows and raised pickups make it hard to to see if anyone is in the vehicle at all
    There’s the side issue that while in the UK cyclists are usually only publicly harassed for taking a lane when there is a cycle lane of no value nearby, in the US you will get harassed if there is a cycle lane on the other side of the road, if you hold up traffic for any reason -or even force them to change lanes even slightly. US friends visiting Bristol are actually impressed by how bicycle friendly the car traffic is in comparison. My theory is that in a city where even drivers have to swerve round things and worry about oncoming traffic, bicycles are a minor problem. Doesn’t stop the hate though.

  3. Interesting design. Of course the best painted-line cycle lane is one that wouldn’t be in the door zone at all, like in your lower photo from Cambridge. Having a lane that is both wide, and not in the door zone would often require removing either parking, or a travel lane, either of which will get large outcry… This might be a reasonable half measure until the will is there to build something better. You might recall my vid of the Stark and Oak St buffered bike lanes that have appeared in downtown Portland that are buffered from both traffic and parked cars and don’t have any pinch-point disappearances or anything. I will be not surprised if this type of thing spreads north to Seattle and south to San Francisco in the coming years.. these cities are putting good money into cycle planning.

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