Spotted: Cyclist accident amidst Hillview School opening festivities

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on August 28, 2012

cyclist hurt by accident during Hillview School opening celebration

Santa Cruz Avenue was jammed with cars, and traffic was backed up this morning during the opening celebration of Hillview School. As happens with congestion, the risk of accidents increases. A car door was opened, causing on oncoming cyclist to hit the pavement. Paramedics responded, and the cyclist was taken by ambulance for evaluation and treatment. A Hillview mom walking by used the occasion to remind her son about bicycle safety: “You need to watch where you’re going at all times and realize that cars can move suddenly whether they’re in motion or parked.”

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Janet August 30, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Why is there no mention of the person who opened the car door in this story? It’s illegal to open a car door in front of bicycles or other traffic. The way it is written ignores that it’s the responsibility of the car’s driver/passenger to yield.

“Door was opened” By whom? Using passive voice ignores the person at fault.
“Occasion to remind her son about bicycle safety” It’s as much an occasion to remind car drivers/passengers that they are legally responsible if they injure someone while opening a car door.
“Cyclist accident” It was a collision between a car and a bicycle, with the car at fault. Don’t exclude the culprit.

Reply

David Roise September 7, 2012 at 9:23 am

Janet is exactly right. Car doors don’t normally open without human involvement, and opening a car door in front of a moving bicycle violates California Vehicle Code Sec. 22517.

By the way, bicyclists can decrease the chance of getting “doored” by riding farther out in the travel lane. If the travel lane is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to share safely side-by-side, an experienced bicyclist will “take the lane” to discourage car drivers from passing where it isn’t safe. See CVC Sec. 21202(a)(3).

It would be great if everyone could learn something from this unfortunate event. Car drivers and passengers should always be careful not to open their doors in front of a bicyclist, and drivers should also be aware that bicyclists are entitled to control the travel lane when it is not safe for them to stay to the right. Bicyclists should avoid riding in the “door zone” and should get comfortable controlling the lane when necessary. In taking the lane, they should always look behind them to make sure there is sufficient space to move into the lane, and they should signal their intentions to drivers behind them.

As bicycle advocate John Forester says: “Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles.”

Reply

Mario October 21, 2013 at 12:09 am

Yes, bad reporting: the journalist has written this text as if the cyclist was at fault. Instead of stating that the person opening the car door was at fault, we are reminded that cyclists should watch for car doors!

Reply

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