Feedback to the City of Sydney -  20 July 2010

" You have recently narrowed a section of Pitt St (between Phillip &
Redfern streets) in Redfern by instituting right-angle parking on
alternative sides of the street - a section  of road on which I have
commuted to work by bicycle for the past four years.  This now narrow
section of street snakes from side to side forcing cyclists very close
to cars.
This morning a car driver opened the car door as I was passing which
caused me to fall and require medical treatment.  This is to let you
know that, due to the changes, this section of road,in my opinion, has
now been made dangerous for cyclists." 

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There is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde with CoS, they are very keen on "safe cycleways" etc but when it comes to everyday traffic engineering they often make things worse for cyclists. I suppose they will say the staggered angle parking makes motorists drive more slowly. Am curious how you came to be riding close to a door if there is 90 degree angle parking?
Every alternate section is right-angle parking - got the car door on a parallel parking section.

The lesson for me is to keep changing my commuting route as road conditions change - which I didn't do in this instance.
use George St. instead of Pitt. It's parallel, and more cycle friendly.
Hi Grasshopper, hope you recover well.

interested in where on the road you were travelling (ie in lane or in 'shared car door death zone') - i generally avoid parked cars by 1 to 1.5 m as much as possible because of far too many near misses (glad to have there not been a car in adjacent lane at the time)

i also feel that there is probably a grey area about who is 'in the wrong' when traveling in those parked car lanes.. ie is it the fault of the cyclist -because of the general rule that if you rear-end someone you are in the wrong) or the fault of the motorist for not showing due diligence when exiting their vehicle?
Thanks! I got off very lightly with only lacerations/stitches to the face from being belted by end of the left handlebar when the wheel turned on hitting the door.
I can't remember now if there are marked lanes - have never hit a car door before in a life-time of cycling, despite many thrown open in my path - the snakey line of the road means full attention, and there was a car stopped, outside the right-angled parking area , on the other side of the road.
I'll use George Street from now on , as Daniel suggests.
Don't ride in the 'marked' bike lane as they are in the car door zone
Peter, just found this "group" while following up on and article in this Saturday's Herald ( page 12, Shopkeepers pump up on outrage over cycleways"). Sorry to hear that you had an "off" and I hope that by now you are well on the way to recovery. See you out on the road, Matthew ( Qantas ).
Could you not ride further away from the cars
Despite my writing that I did not require any reply to my feedback, I received today a very good email from Fiona Campbell, Manager of Cycling Strategy, City of Sydney:

Hi Peter

I'm sorry to hear of your dooring injury. Dooring is the most common cause of cyclist injury in the CBD (40.7% of injuries) and the rest of Sydney City (17.6%). It really is important to claim the lane wherever possible - not only to avoid doors but also to be more visible to drivers at side streets. You must be an experienced commuter, coming from Loftus, but I found even after more than a decade of daily bike commuting, I still benefitted from doing the City's free cycling confidence course and I highly recommend it.

With regard to Pitt Street specifically, the alternating angle parking is designed to take away the "racing straight" feel, and slow the traffic. That makes it safer for bikes and easier to claim the lane. The remaining width is still six metres, wide enough for two standard three metre travel lanes, so there is no need for you to be near the door zone even when there is oncoming traffic.

Also, the parallel George Street through Redfern is my favoured option, remembering that you are not required to use the old shoulder lanes there. The City is looking at putting a separated cycleway along George Street, which will connect (via Allen and Botany) with the Mandible, Bowden and Bourke Road separated cycleways.

I hope you have recovered from your injury. Do keep in mind that the driver was in breach of road rule 269, and can be ticketed by police. Even if they weren't, they are still liable for damage and injury costs. There is some information about claiming damages here:

All the best,

Fiona Campbell
Manager Cycling Strategy
City Of Sydney
Tel: 9246 7587
Mob: 0401 628 742
It is conventional wisdom amongst traffic engineers that reducing the width of a road by staggered angle parking slows traffic, but it is also an excuse for putting in more parking, which is probably the real motivation (I could be wrong).
Granted a cyclist can take the lane but if there are alternate parallel parking sections then the tendency is for cyclists to move left and then have to move right at the next angle parking, and anything that causes or tends to cause a cyclist to deviate into the traffic is not particularly safe IMHO.
Angle parking removes one hazard - dooring - but creates another. For example while I was riding down Gisborne St in Melbourne a couple of years ago, a driver pulled a quick left into a vacant angle slot, directly across my path. Braking, I would have had no chance. Instead I steered with the car and slid in beside him, scraping his paintwork but not hurting myself. The driver apologised - he was taking his elderly mother to the nearby hospital and was desperate to find a parking spot. It was a classic SMIDSY - he was looking for parking slots, not bicycles!


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