Getting Doored

Here is footage of how I got doored yesterday on the Christophe Colomb bike path near Rachel.

It sucks getting doored.  It’s the kind incident that shatters a cyclist confidence in being able to ride safely through city streets.  It puts cyclists in a powerless situation that can lead to serious injury and even fatality.  In the worst case scenario, getting doored can cause a cyclist to lose control and veer into moving car traffic.

Some bike paths are designed to eliminate the possibility that the door of a parked car, adjacent to a bike path, can swing open and block the path abruptly.  These paths typically have a two-three foot painted or concrete buffer between parked cars and the bike path.  Other paths, on the other hand, seem to have been built to encourage this sort of dangerous situation, i.e. the Christophe Colomb bike path between Mount-Royal and Rachel. The path is only three feet wide and wedged between the sidewalk and the cars parked on the left-hand side of the road.  There is no buffer between the parked cars and the bike path, so an open car door on the driver’s side blocks almost the entire width of the path.

Car door blocking bike path on Christophe Colomb

The City has two options.  Either it removes dangerous paths like the Christophe Colomb path, or it improves the path by adding a three-foot painted buffer.  This type of intervention is not expensive to carry out and would make the Christophe Colomb bike path much safer and more pleasant to use.

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5 thoughts on “Getting Doored

  1. Very good point Dave, one of the reasons why I bike less than I used to in MTL. It’s got a lot to do with culture as well. During my time in Holland, never once did I see or even hear about someone getting doored. Obviously their paths are engineered in such a way as to avoid this but biking is commonplace in Holland, so the risks become so much less (especially when drivers are bikers too). Glad to hear you escaped unscathed. Not sure what is holding people back from taking an extra half second to look over their shoulders before opening a car door, but it must change.

  2. It’s not a bike path.

    Ce n’est pas une piste cyclable sur Christophe-Colomb. Il y a une ligne au sol qui indique aux automobilistes où se stationner. Les voitures se stationnent plus loin de la bordure de trottoir pour ainsi réduire la largeur de la chaussée et avoir un impact sur les vitesses de circulation automobiles sur Christophe-Colomb. C’est très dangereux de s’aventurer en vélo dans cet espace.

    1. Thank you for the comment Stef. It was recently brought to my attention that the space between the parked cars and the sidewalk on the left side of Christophe-Colomb is not actually a bike path. I had been wanting to make a note of that on the blog. The space between the parked cars and the sidewalk, however, very much resembles a bike path and could easily be confused for one. I don’t understand why it isn’t widened by a few feet and made into a safe and viable bike path. After all, the road is more than wide enough to lose a few more feet.

  3. I got doored a few years back on Sherbrooke in front of the McGill Music School. Some idiot opened his door without looking first, and I was toast. Went right over the door and flew a few feet before hitting the pavement. Miraculously, I was only shaken up, and my bike was ok.

    The driver blamed me…

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