Getting doored can happen all of a sudden, wrecking your bike and injuring you.
You cannot always see it coming, but with some planning ahead you can try to avoid the dreaded car door. While the California Bike Commission is asking the Legislature to allocate $2 billion for bike safety, politics is famously slow, so individual responsibility is still your best bet.
1. Ride outside of the door zone
Riding right next to parked cars is the best way to get doored. Give yourself at least three full feet of distance from any vehicles. Most doors are not wider than three feet. If you are fortunate to ride in a lane with sharrows (share the road arrows), ride in the center of the arrow on the ground. These are intentionally painted outside of the door zone.
2. Keep an alert eye for brake and parking lights
As an avid bicyclist, you already know that visual vigilance is key to your safety. Still, riding during the peak of the California sun may cause glare that impacts your ability to see white parking lights and brake lights. They flash off very quickly, so if you even think you saw their light on, steer clear of the door they are about to open.
3. Look inside the car for body movement
Tinted windows can make it more difficult to clearly see inside the vehicle, but the side view mirrors can also reveal whether the driver is still in the car. You can also see the shadows inside the car to determine the likelihood of a door about to open.
City cycling is not easy by any stretch, but following these tips could save you some serious road rash.