Door-Zone Crash on Boonville

A bicyclist riding in the bicycle lane on Boonville — a door-zone lane — was hit by a car door last night and seriously injured. My source is a member of the STAR Team. The bicyclist is a friend of his. I have no further details. I’m looking into it.

UPDATE: The bicyclist did not strike the door. He swerved and lost control of his bicycle. He left the scene and walked his bicycle home not knowing how badly he was hurt. A friend, who is a nurse, urged him to go to the hospital. He suffered a collapsed lung, broken ribs, concussion, and broken clavicle. The crash was not reported.

Here’s a shot I made of Boonville’s bicycle lanes:

Here’s the search string for “bicycle lanes” on Carbon Trace.

The Boonville lane has been in place for many years without mitigation or other means of alerting inexperienced bicyclists that it is dangerous. Further, the city has recently added door zone lanes to a short section of Fremont and along Benton from Drury University to Commercial St.

Still further, as I have reported here with video and photos, the city has painted several gutter lanes — equally dangerous. A gutter lane is a bicycle lane that includes the gutter pan as part of its width. This creates many dangers, one of them the seam between the street surface and the gutter pan. Every credible bicycling safety course — especially those taught by Cycling Savvy and the League of American Bicyclists — stresses that seams (such as those found at the edge of the street) are one of the most common hazards for bicyclists.

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Comments 38

  1. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Unsafe at any speed, as Ralph Nader might say. Telling cyclists they should ride in a door zone is like telling motorists they should tailgate each other–in either case, no margin for error.’

    I hope the cyclist recovers completely. And, sues the city.

    Posted 01 Dec 2012 at 5:43 pm
  2. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    I wonder if anyone has tried petitioning local governments to turn such lanes into ‘loading zones’? I mean, these are the only area of the road that should NOT be used by cyclists. The addition of white diagonal stripes would mark this as a loading and unloading zone, which is what it really is.

    Posted 01 Dec 2012 at 5:55 pm
  3. Andy Cline wrote:

    Khal and Ian… No one here appears willing to admit publicly that painting door-zone lanes is a dangerous mistake.

    Posted 01 Dec 2012 at 5:59 pm
  4. Gary wrote:

    Andy, do you know how wide the parking and bike lanes are where the crash occurred?

    Have you tried showing Dan Gutierrez’s slides to your engineers, planners and bike advocates?

    Posted 01 Dec 2012 at 7:01 pm
  5. Andy Cline wrote:

    Gary… The sad thing is that the city all of a sudden began this push for lanes (on top of an already-excellent plan to add sharrows to the entire bicycle route system) following two things:

    1. a survey of young professions re: what will keep you in SGF and attract other young pros: top of the list: bicycle friendliness.

    2. a post-card campaign to city government — run by one of the bicycle shops — encouraged people to contact the mayor(s) and city council and ask for bicycle lanes.

    I’d like to finish the thought re: showing Dan’s slides, but I have already upset a large number of people in SGF by my public opposition to bicycle lanes.

    Posted 01 Dec 2012 at 7:42 pm
  6. Brian wrote:

    Which city?

    Posted 01 Dec 2012 at 8:44 pm
  7. Andy Cline wrote:

    Springfield, Missouri.

    Posted 01 Dec 2012 at 8:48 pm
  8. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    If no one wants to admit that door zone bike lanes are a dangerous mistake, maybe this accident could provide an illustration to make it clear to everyone. If someone doesn’t get rid of this death trap, it’s only a matter of time before this happens again.

    As it happens, my daughter walked in while I was writing my previous response. She asked me what I was doing and I explained to her what happened, and that this was why, during our commute, I always stress how important it is that we always ride so far away from parked cars. She got it in a way that I don’t think she did before, so it definitely has the potential to be a ‘teachable moment’. I realize segregation advocates tend to be somewhat intractable, but surely this is something even the most vociferous segregationist can understand.

    Posted 01 Dec 2012 at 9:53 pm
  9. Andy Cline wrote:

    Ian… It seems to me that the segregationists are all about participation. As long as the mode share is high, such crashes as doorings are acceptable. They simply push the fiction that regular traffic is worse.

    Posted 02 Dec 2012 at 12:51 am
  10. Kevin Love wrote:

    I view this as an issue of traffic engineering incompetence. Specifically, failing to use proper design engineering standards.

    The world class standard for proper cycle infrastructure is the CROW standard. Following this design engineering standard is the best way to eliminate door zone cycling.

    Fully compatible with the CROW design engineering standard is an overall transportation strategy of unravelling cycling routes and motor vehicle routes. This keeps motor vehicles away from people and provides ample opportunities for ensuring that cycling is the fastest, easiest and most convenient way of going from A to B for urban destinations.

    Here is one example of unravelling routes. Note the lack of door zone cycling here:

    http://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/unravelling-modes/

    Posted 02 Dec 2012 at 8:37 am
  11. Andy Cline wrote:

    Kevin… I have plenty of video of door-zone bicycle lanes in Amsterdam. No one seems to be doing much about it there either.

    Posted 02 Dec 2012 at 9:00 am
  12. Steve A wrote:

    It says a lot when a society prioritizes taxpayer-subsidized property storage (free parking) over the lives of its citizens that attempt to exercise their right of passage on the same public roadway.

    Posted 02 Dec 2012 at 10:35 am
  13. Khal Spencer wrote:

    The City of Springfield’s adding dangerous designs to “encourage” the inmigration of young professionals is the worst sort of hypocrisy. One would be better off legalizing pot and prostitution–relatively benign stuff compared to a design that is purposely built to put folks in danger.

    Concur with Steve on the free car storage point.

    Posted 02 Dec 2012 at 11:16 am
  14. Kevin Love wrote:

    Khal,

    Prostitution is legal here in Toronto. And although possession of marijuana is still technically illegal, the policy of our police force is “we have higher priorities for law enforcement.”

    Posted 02 Dec 2012 at 6:21 pm
  15. Keri wrote:

    A law suit against the city probably wouldn’t go far if the bike lane meets AASHTO guidelines. Looking at the photo, it probably does.

    I wonder if anyone has considered a class action suit against AASHTO. Or if that’s even possible. It’s not like they haven’t been told the minimum space requirements are unconscionable.

    This image shows the space in a dzbl that is 2ft wider than the AASHTO minimum.

    Posted 03 Dec 2012 at 8:43 am
  16. Andy Cline wrote:

    Keri… Yes, AASHTO offers what I would characterize as a “mishmash” of guidelines that only have an occasional and accidental relationship to safe traffic bicycling practices. The door-zone lanes in SGF are all wide enough to keep you from getting toasted by a door if you ride on the outer edge of the lane. How many people know to do that? How many are willing to do that. Video I’ve made/published of Drury students using Benton demonstrates they think the entire lane is safe. Who will take responsibility for this? (I mean besides those of us who try to teach a better way.)

    Posted 03 Dec 2012 at 9:35 am
  17. Keri wrote:

    It doesn’t help that there are bike-promotion advocates out there doing “studies” to justify the damned things.
    http://bicyclingmatters.wordpress.com/critiques/dzbls-in-cambridge-ma/

    Posted 03 Dec 2012 at 10:05 am
  18. Andy Cline wrote:

    Keri… This point that Wayne makes is spot on re: my assertion that painting door-zone lanes is immoral — A door zone lanes encourages, even demands, that bicyclists ride in the door zone given the well-documented behavior of bicyclists using lanes.

    Posted 03 Dec 2012 at 10:57 am
  19. Michael wrote:

    The lawsuit the injured rider files should get that lane fix/removed. Please tell me there’s a lawsuit in the works. That lane’s nothing but a hazard.

    Posted 03 Dec 2012 at 11:39 am
  20. Andy Cline wrote:

    Michael… I do not know the name of the person involved. But he’s a friend of a friend. So I have asked these questions:

    1. Has he reported the crash?
    2. Does he plan to sue?

    I’ll report anything I am able as soon as possible.

    Posted 03 Dec 2012 at 11:51 am
  21. Kevin Love wrote:

    Andy,

    As I have previously written, there are indeed some parts of the most densely populated regions of downtown Amsterdam where there is overcrowding of inadequate facilities. Most of the city is fine.

    The overcrowding is largely due to the success of cycling and land use policies that have put cycle mode share into an absolute majority in these areas. Most cities would rejoice to have such a “problem.”

    To say that “No one seems to be doing much about it” reveals that you are doing inadequate research. Among others, Amsterdam City Council recently released its Bicycle Strategy 2012-2016 which does a good job of describing the problem. It also plans for spending approximately $75 million to provide another 15 km of cycle lanes, reallocation of road space and an additional 38,000 parking spaces. Yes, that is not a typo. Thirty-eight thousand additional parking spaces.

    I tried posting a link to the Amsterdam City Council’s website, but your blog did not accept it.

    Posted 03 Dec 2012 at 12:01 pm
  22. Andy Cline wrote:

    Kevin… That will be cool if Amsterdam is able to mitigate the danger of its door-zone lanes. Good for them.

    But I sure don’t want such a problem as over-crowded bicycle infrastructure occurring in Springfield. Rather, I’d love to see bicycle crowd cars out of the picture entirely :-)

    Posted 03 Dec 2012 at 1:46 pm
  23. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Its a catch-22 to some degree. Americans have been taught to fear traffic while riding bicycles. Motorists have been taught that low standards of driving are acceptable. The two are mutually reinforcing; both increase the culture of fear of riding a bicycle. By suggesting that bicyclists can ride out of the way of cars, advocates try to encourage more riding by getting out of that box, rather than by civilizing our roads for the greater good.

    The trouble with that picture, aside from that it abandons our right to our public space, is the piss-awful infrastructure that some of the advocates and their friends in government are willing to accept. Door zone bike lanes. Bike boxes, diagonal crosswalks, and bike lanes without proper traffic controls to prevent right hooks or cyclists darting in front of cars at inappropriate times. Multiuser paths that don’t function at legitimate cycling speeds, so we glorify “slow” riding as some sort of improvement. Well, it doesn’t improve cycling if you have a longish commute.

    Meanwhile, those roads that we all bought and paid for are said to be for cars alone, not only by irate motorists but by the separate infrastructure-centric cycling advocacy movement that is willing to abandon the roads as the price for separate facilities. I don’t like it when a bicycling advocate sells me out on my right to use public space that I already have (and have paid for) in return for a promise of some ideal world that may never appear.

    I do think it would be fine to integrate properly designed bicycling-specific infrastructure into the picture, as long as it is done right, that it serves a specific purpose (such as by opportunistically putting bike facilities where they can fit but a car facility cannot), and that it does not impede cyclist use of general purpose roadways. Set the bar high, not low.

    Posted 03 Dec 2012 at 6:11 pm
  24. robert wrote:

    Andy Cline: “The door-zone lanes in SGF are all wide enough to keep you from getting toasted by a door if you ride on the outer edge of the lane. How many people know to do that? How many are willing to do that.”

    How many people know to do that even when the bike lanes do not exist?

    Posted 04 Dec 2012 at 5:43 am
  25. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    Robert illustrates two problems: cyclist apathy and lack of education on the part of populist cycling advocacy.

    All we can do about it is keep trying to warn people. But that’s hard when we have so-called cycling advocates ranting on about how VC is nutty, outmoded and dangerous twaddle spouted by a bunch of old hippies.

    Posted 04 Dec 2012 at 6:39 am
  26. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Robert asks “How many people know to do that even when the bike lanes do not exist?”

    Well the lack of education is a separate issue from bad infrastructure. Do we build roads that put dashed lines on blind curves to encourage motorists to drive dangerously?

    Posted 04 Dec 2012 at 8:35 am
  27. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Strike the “build roads that” from that last sentence and hand me another cup of coffee….

    Posted 04 Dec 2012 at 8:36 am
  28. Andy Cline wrote:

    Robert… Bicyclist behavior and what the infrastructure encourages them to do are two different things. You can see this for yourself. Go spend a couple of hours observing bicyclist behavior in lanes (I have). The majority ride center to right. They tend not to ride to the left. Door-zone lanes encourage bicyclists to ride too close to doors while fooling them into thinking they are safe (safe from the least likely of car-bicycle collisions in urban areas — hit from behind/sideswipe). This is EXACTLY why I have branded the painting of door-zone lanes as immoral. Everyone in bicycle advocacy/planning/engineering knows they put bicyclists too close to cars no matter how wide the lane is. Everyone.

    Posted 04 Dec 2012 at 9:13 am
  29. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Andy, that’s why I made the analogy to painting dashed lines rather than double yellow on blind curves. NO traffic engineer would ever do that, because it would be an official endorsement of passing cars in the oncoming lane on a blind curve.

    Yet we have traffic engineers who will sign off on designs to encourage bicyclists to ride unsafely close to parked cars, which like passing on a blind curve, invites a crash that has a well defined causation. This does smack of incompetence at best and immorality at worst. Why any self-respecting bicyclist or bicycling advocate would fail to condemn such facilities out of hand is troubling.

    Posted 04 Dec 2012 at 10:15 am
  30. Robert wrote:

    Andy,

    I don’t disagree about door zone bike lanes. What I’m trying to point out is that your argument doesn’t make sense.

    You took a video of students bicycling in the door zone as a way to prove that the lanes have encouraged this behavior. You and everyone else knows that these students would be bicycling in the exact same manner without the bike lanes. So while I get your point regarding door zone bike lanes, most people aren’t because your arguments aren’t logical or true. By your telling, the majority of students were happily controlling the lane before the bike lanes. We both know the video you shot would look nearly exactly the same (sans bike lanes) if they had never been painted.

    In other words, I could prove in court that students on streets without bike lanes ride in the door done by simply video taping nearly any other street around the campus area.

    I think a better argument would be that educated bicyclists are put in a less than ideal situation by being forced to ignore the bicycle infrastructure in order to stay safe.

    That’s my two cents, keep making your same arguments if they are winning people over in Springfield.

    Posted 04 Dec 2012 at 5:26 pm
  31. Robert wrote:

    Khal, I get your point but I think it’s a stretch. The paint that you’re referring to explains to motorists when it’s safe/unsafe to pass (generally) and its even built into the law. You cannot legally pass while driving along a double line just like you can’t not stop when approaching a stop sign.

    In the case of a bike lane that is simply too narrow to avoid the door zone, I agree with you. However, when it is wide enough then I disagree with you.

    You could drive along any street so close to the curb that you damage your wheels. Same thing with a median. Hell you could even drive into the back of a parked car on nearly any residential street while “maintaining your lane.”

    So the fact that the engineers haven’t placed the right stripe of a bike lane far enough away from the door to remove the risk is hardly an endorsement of dooring crash.

    Does that make sense? I don’t expect you to agree, but does my fake on your example make sense?

    Posted 04 Dec 2012 at 5:38 pm
  32. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    “You and everyone else knows that these students would be bicycling in the exact same manner without the bike lanes.”

    This is true for the most part, but I think at least part of the point is that when the government gets involved in striping a door zone bike lane, it’s a tacit endorsement of the door zone as a safe place for cycling.

    Government should not be involved in making streets less safe. On the contrary, if government is involved at all, it should be striping these areas as danger zones.

    Posted 04 Dec 2012 at 6:42 pm
  33. Andy Cline wrote:

    Robert… Yes. What Ian said. That line is an *endorsement* of poor lane positioning. I would NEVER claim they were riding properly before the lane. You won’t find any such statement anywhere on Carbon Trace. You’ve knocked down a straw man.

    Posted 04 Dec 2012 at 7:57 pm
  34. Cecelia wrote:

    I don’t see your links… I don’t agree with “door zone lanes” for obvious reasons, but I would be scared to ride my bike in town due to the lack of wisdom (putting it mildly…), courtesy, and patience among many motor vehicle drivers. I only ride it in the country where there’s adequate shoulders, bike lanes, or on bike trails. I would love to see your presentation on how to ride safely in town.

    Posted 04 Dec 2012 at 9:24 pm
  35. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    Cecelia, in my opinion, the best way to understand (and benefit from) integrated cycling techniques is to go cycling with someone who practices them. That way, you can see at first hand how it makes cycling safer, easier and more fun.

    For those who aren’t confident about riding in traffic, practical experience beats any number of videos or texts, because the tendency is to dismiss what may, at first seem quite counter-intuitive. So if you can find some way to get practical experience, that’s what I recommend.

    Posted 04 Dec 2012 at 9:49 pm
  36. Khal Spencer wrote:

    A traffic engineer paints a double line to make it illegal to pass based on the high risk of a head on crash (or similar catastrophe) on a blind curve. The same engineer will paint the right side of a bike lane flush with parked cars in spite of the high risk of a dooring crash, which can be pretty catastrophic to a cyclist. That’s my problem. For motorists, we try to proscribe dangerous driving. For bicyclists, we encourage it!

    The only reason we encourage it is because we can pretend to be creating “safe” bicycling space when in fact we are throwing cyclists under the bus (literally, in Dana Laird’s case). Its a lie painted on the road. If we really want to give cyclists their own space, we should do it honestly, by either taking space from parking or by taking space via eminent domain. Either of those options is harder than painting space in a door zone and selling out cyclists.

    Posted 04 Dec 2012 at 9:54 pm
  37. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    If you aren’t able to get practical experience, by all means seek out videos and texts, but try to keep an open mind: most casual cyclists find integrated cycling practices off-putting, in that they run counter to misconceptions of road safety that novice or casual cyclists often harbor.

    I spent years ignoring advice from veteran cyclists to ride in an integrated manner. For years I misunderstood that the way I was riding was exacerbating the problem of (as you put it) lack of wisdom, courtesy, and patience among many motor vehicle drivers.

    Posted 04 Dec 2012 at 10:02 pm
  38. Andy Cline wrote:

    Cecelia… Are you in Springfield? Perhaps we can take a spin around town, and I’ll show just how pleasant it can be. I rarely encounter rude behavior from motorists. I ride my bicycle everyday for basic transportation all over Springfield — 8 years now.

    Posted 04 Dec 2012 at 10:57 pm