Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ban Bike Lanes in the "Door Zone"

Bike lane in the "door zone"--Baldwin Park.  
 The car or truck door opens in an instant, striking a bicyclist or causing the bicyclist to instinctively swerve into fast-moving, motorist traffic.  A fatality can result.  

This is called "dooring" and Commute Orlando posted a chilling video from the vantage point of a motorist at THIS LINK.  A transportation planner or engineer should never assume that a bicyclist can scan the interior of every motor vehicle--especially in Florida where windows are often tinted--and have enough time to react when a door opens.  An average bicyclist will travel the length of a parked car every second where on-street parking is allowed.

The bottom line is that local governments should never allow bike lanes in a door zone.  Internal policies should specifically prohibit them.

Commute Orlando advocates against bike lanes and I generally agree that we do not need bike lanes on many low-speed streets with low traffic volumes.  New Broad Street in Baldwin Park, depicted in the photo above, has slow speeds but also a fair amount of traffic volume.  The absence of a bike lane would discourage  many bicyclists from riding there altogether.  When the City of Orlando resurfaces the street, the City should, at the very least, move the bike lane to the left side, along the median, out of the door zone.