Close call

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Willie
Participant
#

Well yesterday as I was riding on grandview ave in mt washington a guy threw his car door open as I was passing his car and almost hit me with it. I told him to watch out then he yelled at me and told me it was my fault. He said he opened the door and I almost hit him, when in reality he opened it blindly.

I was riding in the road where I should of been. I took the lane closer to the right so the car behind me could pass safely also.

My question is who was right and who was wrong? If he already had it opened like he says then I must be blind because I didn’t see it in till I was a few inches from it.

I also must add that I rode about 20 miles all around yesterday and later in the day while cruising down east carson there was a parked car that i was passing. The people in the car where about to open the door but as they cracked them open they looked behind them self and seen us riding up. AT that point they held the door closed and let us pass safely. We thanked them as we passed and went on our way. At least some people are still courteous.


brian j
Participant
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I had a similar experience a few months ago. Very similar, actually, as I was trying to accommodate a bus trying to pass me from behind. My understanding is that PA law says that drivers are responsible for their doors, but someone can correct me if I’m wrong. One thing the experience taught me was to AVOID riding in the door zone at all times. The bus behind me could have waited.

I always appreciate coming across folks who ARE courteous, and like you, I go out of my way to thank them.


Chris Mayhew
Participant
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He was probably wrong but it doesn’t matter once you get doored. Stay out of the door zone.

There’s a guy where I’m from who was famous for getting doored by a person who was digging something out of the passenger floorboard and just blindly kicked the door open on him. He almost died and has the foot long scar to prove it.


Willie
Participant
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So it seems to be one of those things were he was wrong but good luck getting anyone to enforce the law. The disk brakes I just got are worth every penny now. :)


sloaps
Participant
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dude was wrong

§ 3705 . Opening and closing vehicle doors.

No person shall open any door on a motor vehicle unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on a side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.


erok
Keymaster
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yes very wrong. it is always their fault. he was being an a-hole and defensive. unfortunately, it’s not one of those things that’s enforceable unless something happens.


alnilam
Participant
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My driver’s-ed teacher in high school said the law is 100% always against the door opener. He would joke that even if you purposely swerved over to hit their door, you could still make them pay for the damage to your car.


Lyle
Participant
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Dooring is almost always the motorist’s fault, and also almost always avoidable.

Give yourself more room – you are under no obligation to put yourself at risk of a fatal accident just to get “out of the way” of the cars on the road. At least, as long as you’re riding somewhere that doesn’t have a mandatory bike-lane law.


Mick
Participant
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The contents of this thread should be brought the attention of local law enforcement personnel. I’m thinking that if once a year a reminder of this law goes around to all the local police, there might be a small change in attitude in just a few years.


greenbike
Participant
#

If you were a car and had actually hit the door, the door-opener would have been at fault…so the same should hold for bikes.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Sounds like the sort of thing cyclists should memorize, in case this comes up in conversation, whether at a cocktail party or door-side: “PA vehicle law, section 3705 states…”

It’s hard to argue against chapter-and-verse facts.


Willie
Participant
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If I was in a car he might not have a door or arm anymore. Thank you for the advice everyone, from now on I am staying closer to the middle of my lane and the cars can wait to pass when it is safe to do so.


Lyle
Participant
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I’m thinking that if once a year a reminder of this law goes around to all the local police, there might be a small change in attitude in just a few years.

Indeed. Some time back, an officer rolled up next to me in a cruiser and announced that I should be riding closer to the parked cars (on Penn Ave near 28th St). I politely informed him that I was avoiding the door zone and he drove off. Minutes later I came across a couple of bike cops and related the story to them. They replied “yeah, the cruiser cops tell *us* the same thing.”


netviln
Participant
#

The wording of the law still says, as far to the right as “Practicable” not “Possible”. It also implies that if it is multilane in your direction, you only need to be in the right lane(except for when you are turning left, etc) and not on the right hand side of the right lane.

That is why the sharrows on Penn are in the middle of the lane.


t
Participant
#

This thread seems like a good spot to ask this question, what about liability insurance for bicyclists, what if I get doored by someone without insurance, what if I hit a pedestrian that steps in front of me, what if I’m not paying attention and hit someones car. I’m a vehicle sharing the road, shouldn’t I be responsible and have liability insurance. I’ve googled this and the only thing suggested was getting an old car and insuring it, just to use the car insurance for bicycling, apparently some companies will insure you while your on your bike as well.

I don’t want an old car, I don’t want automobile insurance. I just want to be covered in the case of an accident.


netviln
Participant
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The insurance question come up a lot.

a) if you have car insurance it covers you

b) homeowners and renters insurance gives you liability coverage usually. (check your policy)

c) personal medical insurance obviously protects you, but not the other person.

d) you can get get umbrella liability insurance (generally, umbrella liability insurance doesnt kick in till after your other insurances are depleted)


Ohiojeff
Participant
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The insurance question come up a lot.

a) if you have car insurance it covers you

You can add something called uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to your auto policy which can be helpful if you are in an accident with someone insured by 1-800-No-Coverage.


t
Participant
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I don’t own a car, I don’t own a home, I don’t want renters insurance, medical insurance? unlikely.

I ride a bike and want to be covered in the case of an accident, especially if it’s my fault.


netviln
Participant
#

timito, the only real option is renters insurance and personal liability insurance in your situation I think. Unfortunately, no insurance company in the states has decided to offer cyclist insurance.

as a note.. the personal liability clause on most renter/homeowner policies protects you from any personal action (think spilling a drink at the grocery store and getting sued). And renters insurance is pretty darned cheap. Usually $15-20/mo


reddan
Keymaster
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If you really, really want cyclist-specific insurance, you may wish to contact one of the insurance companies in the UK that offer such policies, and see if they would cover you on this side of the pond.

Personally, I think you’re better off working with a company here, but I’m unaware of anything else beyond the above suggestions that you’ve already considered and rejected.


edmonds59
Participant
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This seems like a pretty significant emerging market for some company to get into. Is our fabulous “free market” working?


Kordite
Participant
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> Is our fabulous “free market” working?

My paycheck says “no.”


reddan
Keymaster
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This seems like a pretty significant emerging market for some company to get into

I dunno…considering how few _motorists_ would likely choose to purchase liability insurance if they weren’t forced to, I doubt the market for cyclists is all that large. Yet.

That said, I wonder if the insurance company that offers insurance specifically to bicycle frame builders (name escapes me, and I’m too lazy to look it up) would be interested in offering personal liability to cyclists.


erok
Keymaster
#

what if I get doored by someone without insurance

-do you have medical insurance? isn’t there a state program?

what if I hit a pedestrian that steps in front of me

-wouldn’t that be their fault?

what if I’m not paying attention and hit someones car

-hopefully the damage would be so small that you could pay out of pocket from the money that you didn’t give to an insurance company

i heard tale that there are some companies in portland that are exploring this


erok
Keymaster
#

in fact here’s an article about it from january

http://bikeportland.org/2010/01/05/bicycle-insurance-coming-to-america-in-2010/

and here’s some options:

http://bikeportland.org/2010/01/05/page-two-bicycle-insurance-options-whats-out-there-and-what-isnt/

* Home owners or renters insurance will cover theft or severe damage of your bicycle (usually, varies by policy). These sorts of insurance are often packaged with auto insurance; home owners with auto insurance have an option of an additional $1,000,000 liability coverage. Renters insurance is extremely cheap (often under $15 a month) and may include personal liability coverage as well.

* USA Cycling and Adventure Advocates offer emergency medical coverage for their members. The insurance is intended as a supplement to basic health insurance to cover gaps left by high deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance, but it can be purchased by a member having no insurance. The most comprehensive plan is $46 dollars a month and has a $500 deductible and a $10,000 benefit.

* TriBike Insurance offers accident insurance specifically for triathletes. Their insurance plan has a benefit amount of $20,000, offers optional “excess liability” coverage for damage done to others’ property, and also covers damage to your bicycle. To sign up, your bike must cost at least $3,000.

* Although there is nothing preventing the non-competitive average Joe or Jane with a fancy bike from signing up for either TriBike Insurance or Adventure Advocates, representatives from both assured me their plans are not appropriate for commuters.

* Bike lawyer Ray Thomas recommends purchasing a cheap clunker car, insuring it to cover potential collisions, and parking it permanently in your driveway.

* Another suggestion from Ray Thomas is to pay a friend, family member, or housemate to add you as a “driver” to their auto insurance policy.

None of these solutions is ideal, but they’ll have to suffice until a true bicycle insurance option emerges. Stay tuned for our third article (of three) of special coverage on The Bicycle Insurance Gap.


netviln
Participant
#

The fault of pedestrians is always in question, but they can still sue you, whether its their fault or not.

Of course.. you could always be self insured.. I cant remember how much you need.. maybe 50k in cash.. you put it in some sort of escrow or something and the state will issue you a self insured card or something.

If you are involved in a major incident tho, 50k doesnt go very far at all.


dwillen
Participant
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If you get hit, don’t assume the other drivers insurance will cover much of anything, even if they do have insurance. PA state minimums are something like $5k for medical benefits, $15k for “bodily injury”. Moral of the story, get some big uninsured/underinsured coverage on your own policy since $5k (or even $20k if you put medical expenses into a personal injury claim) wont get you very far in an ER.


t
Participant
#

* Bike lawyer Ray Thomas recommends purchasing a cheap clunker car, insuring it to cover potential collisions, and parking it permanently in your driveway.

* Another suggestion from Ray Thomas is to pay a friend, family member, or housemate to add you as a “driver” to their auto insurance policy.

I appreciate Ray Thomas efforts, but for me these options are less then ideal. There is no chance I’m going to purchase any type of automobile. I don’t have a drivers license anyway and no intentions of getting one. Sad state of affairs in these country in regards to taking Bicycle seriously as transportation, “It’s just a toy, why insure a toy?”


rsprake
Participant
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Why not go with the renters insurance then? Bike insurance is not likely to be any cheaper than that if it ever comes around.


t
Participant
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I’m going to look into it, Somehow I doubt it’s going to provide the type of coverage I need, but it’s something.


netviln
Participant
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my renters policy came with 100k in personal liability coverage. Also covered property loss if it was sotlen, etc


Marko82
Participant
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Bicyclist killed in Oakland “bicycle vs. A. C. Transit bus” accident after being hit by car door!

Quote:

While that news is disturbing in itself, what is even more disturbing is that this “accident” was 100% avoidable, and not in the way you might think. Certain media gave us only part of the truth when they reported that the bicyclist was killed by the AC Transit Line NX bus. While it is true that the immediate cause of the cyclist’s death was “hit by bus,” that is not the whole story.

In fact, this bicyclist, Erik Fitzpatrick, 35, of Oakland, was killed as a result of being “car doored,” that is, knocked into the bus by a car driver’s door.


Marko82
Participant
#

Additional video.

The cops attitude is disturbing at best – oh the lady is sorry… she went and had her hair done right after the “accident”!! WTF, if this woman isnt charged with manslaughter I would never ride a bike in that town ever!


salty
Participant
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I predict a 0.0000000001% chance of her getting charged with manslaughter. Maybe she’ll get a small fine but have some sympathy – she’s “very shaken up” and “very upset” and that’s pretty much as bad as being dead, right? Why should she have to suffer more?

I thought the cop was actually fairly reasonable – at least he seemed to understand the law.

There’s a very cruel irony to the guy getting run over by a bus that he just got off.


burgoofj
Participant
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This is a subject that I feel strongly about. In the mid 80s I went into the side of a car door. Only got some stiches and a hurt shoulder, maybe a concussion. Still have a scar on my chin and my shoulder isn’t right. Worse than that though I just couldn’t ride anymore, at least not on the streets. There were very few trails back then. 25 years and 80 pounds later I finally am getting back to riding.

Don’t let this happen to you. You have the right to be on the road and not to be wacked by large metal objects.


edmonds59
Participant
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burgoofj, awesome that you’re back riding, better late than never. Hope to see you out there. Come to one of the group rides!


dwillen
Participant
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This stuff makes me sick.

The guy that car doored me maybe 5 years ago got out of his car (while I was still laying on the ground 5 feet in front of his car, bike 10 feet in front of me) and exclaimed “OH MAN, LOOK WHAT YOU DID TO MY DOOR!” He refused to give me his name because, as he figured it, his door cost more than my bike, and then he took off. I called the cops who I guess filed hit and run charges (which I’ve never heard squat about).

I’m pleased that many of the newly painted bike lanes here take the door zone into account.

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