Recently I was riding through UTC on the closed street reserved for pedistrians and cyclists. On that day a Coke truck and trailor was parked on the street, right at the place where there are islands in the middle of the street, leaving about three feet for me to pass by. I slowed down to work my around this hulk of metal in my way, which turned out to be a very good thing.
I was coming up to the driver's door when bam! I found myself on my butt! Doored! Considering how slow I was going, the force that threw me to the ground was surprisily powerful. And it hurt! I wasn't actually hurt, didn't even break skin, but the impact shook me up enough to bring a bit a daze and a need for an inventory of all body parts.
The driver jumped out, crisp in his Coca-cola uniform, in a mild panic. He was apoligizing profusly, picking up the bike, straightening the saddle (ever noticed that even the mildest mishap with the bike the saddle takes that opportunity to do a little spin?) and trying to make sure I was ok. I am sure he was seeing a huge ugly blemish going on his driving record.
But after a minute or two, I was ok and didn't see a need to make a bigger deal about it. But I did give him a minuture lecture. I reminded him that he WAS parking in a bike/pedistrian zone so he needed to be expecting us. Always look before opening doors!
Generally I try never to ride in door zones. It is just too dangerous. I was going very slowly that day. It doesn't take much imagination to see how with a little bit more speed that incident could have been very bad, deadly even. .
That means, on narrow streets, if I am four feet away from a parked car, I will be in the middle of the lane An example of this is on McCallie Ave from Georgia Ave to Central. There are two lanes and parking on both sides of the street. There is no second lane for a car to pull into to pass and so many times cars must just stay behind me until there is a safe time to pass. Its never more then a block or so, so its not long.
But many drivers don't understand that. They act asthough I am expected to risk my life for their convenience. Sorry, I set my priorities different!
Someone might ask, why do I ride on that road if it is so bad and dangerous. I don't normally. Going up Oak Street that runs parrelell to McCallie is a much nicer road to ride on and it takes me more directly on my home/work route. (although that is where I was doored) But sometimes where I am going is right on that stretch of McCallie. I take it because I need to.
I think driving big suvs on such narrow lanes with parking and university pedistrians with a strong proclivity for jaywalking would be scarier! For everyone!
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