Cycling in Sydney Australia
I've been an avid Sydney Cyclist contributor for 20 years but never have I experience a car dooring - till now (must have been lucky for a long time). Going along High Street, North Willoughby - across the road from the shops - door opens right in front of me - no where to go - smash right into it - bend his door right back. Just a bit bruising of my neck which connected with the top of his door. Bike OK. I'm a driver too - so I didn't really get angry - didn't get all police on him sort of thing - I was more worried he would probably have a $1000 bill to fix his car - that was karma enough - he won't be opening his door like that again in a hurry. But now i'm home writing this - at a worse angle or if I was going faster - it could have been a lot worse.
The funny thing is - two weeks ago I just filled out a Willoughby Council survey saying how they should really consider a bi-directional cycleway down High Street to avoid car dooring. Oh the coincidence.
My thoughts on the matter. Is this a rare occurrence in Sydney? I hear a lot about car doorings in Melbourne - maybe because of the amount of cyclists - but don't hear a lot about it in Sydney, I also know that they even put together a pretty impressive cyclist accident/incident map - again I don't think Sydney has one of those - not enough cyclists (or not any accidents). I do know that with the death of a few people in Melbourne and along with the incident map - they were able to push the agenda and make more cycleways on city streets. Not sure if we can push the same agenda.
My thoughts on the whole bi-directional cycleway down High Street, North Willoughby was linked in part to me hearing about the West Street Cycleway that's in development in North Sydney. And obviously the SHB ramp that will also aid new cyclists on the Lower North Shore. If there is to be an increase in cyclist because of the ramp - and the West Street Cycleway - more people will be cycling along High Street - so thoughts must go towards looking at a bi-directional cycleway - or the cheaper option - promotion along the street that people must look before opening their doors (Amsterdam door look). Again talk about coincidence / irony.
Glad you and bike are ok. How did you manage to bend his door right back without damaging your bike? I have to say your attitude to the driver is a lot more charitable than mine would be in the same event.
Just my opinion - with no facts whatever to back it up - that doorings are more likely in Melbourne due to the presence of trams, so some riders will pass closer to the door zone to avoid the drivers who are avoiding the tram tracks.
Will you ride outside the door zone on the future? Or would the road rage that generates in drivers be too much to deal with?
The reason I use the car door/suicide lane is a combination of being a slow cyclist (a rarity on the north shore where most people are wearing lycra) and not wanting to hold people up (esp going up a slight inclines). I'm usually very vigilant of occupants of cars when riding (I'm a slow cyclist so I always pick them out) not so this time.
The other reason is High St at West St which I also get in the door lane - cars are always banked up. So the door lane has always been quicker.
Same in the City here, car doorings were the biggest accident category and a factor in getting cycleways built. But it is different out in the burbs apparently, car doorings are less common. The case in Leichhardt anyway. Maybe parking turnover is higher in the CBD. Still, got to be very vigilant, or ride well out as default. Pains me to see cyclists going fast within car door range, it's just a matter of time.
I've been doored - thought I would have better reaction timing but it was over in an instant.
Luckily I was not injured, or sent flying into a vehicles path. I was shocked, and the lady who bolted out of her car kept bolting.
My road attitude has worsened dramatically so I tend to follow-up actions like that more aggressively now - there is no other alternative. Unless you require an ambulance the Police don't want to know. There is zero deterrent for motorists to look out for riders. Had a driver of a ute cross over onto my side of the road to try and hit me head on, got to practice high speed kerb jumping, by the time I stopped and turned around tried to take off in top gear he was long gone.
I hope you don't have any lingering injuries/issues due to the dooring, the only way to stop it happening is to ride wide of cars but as you know then you get punishment passes. I'd love to ride slowly sometimes, but on most roads you are safer to get low and ride fast. So sad.
If you have ever seen the video of the young guy killed on Sydney Rd in Melbourne when a driver opened their car door and pushed him in front of a truck it was over in milliseconds. Just a little nudge was enough. No time to react.
Yes I had a back and forth about this with some ardent "ride in the gutter and be thankful for the painted bike lanes" types and these people were cyclists! Most don't appreciate how quickly this happens or how serious the consequences are or how wide of cars you need to ride to completely avoid doors.
More a case of "they don't care" Jim.
Llewster I ride on High quite a lot as well and can see that those shops at Nth Willoughby can be an issue. I had a lady open a door on me on an adjacent st, Eaton St recently. Luckily I was wide enough so no impact. She apologised. Rather wide than dead I say. Hope you have no ongoing injuries.
I have become a bit complacent of late on staying wide, this thread has reminded me to stay clear of doors. A car driver opened their door wide on Lilyfield Road last week, luckily it happened far enough ahead for me to react and alert the rider behind me. But if they had opened their door any later it would have been quite bad.
ditto here - I'm always reminding myself.
Had a weird one the other day - riding up an M2 exit ramp (ie: fast cars, not a place to take the traffic lane without extreme care), there's a ute in the breakdown lane doing nothing (from a long distance off). I get adjacent to his tray and the driver's door flings open!
It can happen at any time, folks.
Good to hear you are fine. I ride along High St daily on my commute to work (both directions). I find that it is good practice to ride within the cycle lane but position yourself on the outer-most side, if that makes sense. By doing this, I have had the time to avoid any doors opening.
Even in areas without bike lanes, I ride about 1 metre clear of parked cars. Yes, that means I am closer to the middle of the road, but I am entitled to ride there and cars should see me.
I am actually more concerned about pedestrians thinking they can step into a bike lane without checking.