Happy Rain Riding, again... <sigh>QUESTION OF THE WEEK: THE "DOOR ZONE"
Instead of a poll this week, let's do a new feature - Question of the Week. (It won't really be every week, but it's a nice title.)
For those who don't follow the message board as religiously as some of us, I thought it would be valuable to share a question that was asked this week by Molly, regarding "the door zone". In the "Don't let this happen to you: Getting waved through by by well meaning but ignorant motorists
" thread, Molly states:
"In thinking about the law requiring bikes to travel 'as far to the right as is practicable' my question is about biking on streets with on-street parking. ... I find myself riding about 3-3 1/2 ft from parked cars just to give myself a window to maneuver in case someone throws open their door without looking. I guess that's my own personal definition of 'practicable' due to past experiences but I wonder what others think, if others have their own strategies to avoid 'dooring' and if I'm breaking the law by riding as far out in traffic as I do in those instances."
Mike, Ken, and I all weighed in on the subject, and the answer is a resounding YES, DO avoid the door zone, and NO, it's NOT against the law to ride that far out in traffic. (As Critical Mass says, you ARE traffic!) Ken notes succinctly "Merge left early to a line that avoids the door zone - always... no matter what law says or how law is occasionally (mis)interpreted."
However, I think it is also worth nothing that the "Ride to the right" law (Title 29-A, Chapter 19, Section 2063, Subsection 2
, if you care) explicitly mentions moving left "when necessary to avoid hazardous conditions, including, but not limited to, ... opening doors from parallel-parked vehicles....". But even if it didn't say so, it is neither "practicable", as Molly notes, nor safe (another exception mentioned in the law) to put yourself at risk from opening car doors, so it would still be legal on both of those counts as well. In the final analysis, safety trumps legality anyway, but I think it's nice to know that it's legal, too, especially if you are asked about it by your friendly local law enforcement officer.
On this topic, John Allen, author of the great little booklet "Bicycling Street Smarts", notes
"Don't weave in and out between parked cars. If you weave to the right after passing a parked car, it will hide you from drivers approaching from behind you. Then you have to pop back out into the path of overtaking traffic when you reach the next parked car. Put yourself in the place of a driver a couple of hundred feet behind you. Could this driver see you?
It's much safer to ride in a predictable, straight line, where everyone can see you. Motorists don't mind slowing down for a predictable, visible bicyclist nearly as much as they mind a bicyclist who swerves out in front of them."
BREAKING NEWS - WE'RE ON FACEBOOK!
Check us out on Facebook! Thanks to Mike for setting up a Portland Bike Commuting page
there. I'm not there yet because I seem to be having trouble with my Facebook account, but you should go and check it out!
Fri 6/19 and Sat 6/20, 7 PM: "Long Road North" Bicycle Film, Frontier Caf?, Brunswick.
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is co-sponsoring the screening of the bicycle documentary, "Long Road North," at Frontier Caf? in Brunswick on June 19 and 20. The film follows bicyclists on their journey from the southern tip of Patagonia to Canada's Arctic Circle. Armel Castellan, who participated in the trip, will answer questions after the 7 p.m. screenings
Fri 6/26: Deadline to register for Traffic Skills 101, July 7, Fryeburg
This full-day course with nationally-certified cycling instructor Charley LaFlamme. This full-day course, half in-class and half on-bike, will take place on Tuesday July 7 in Fryeburg. This nationally certified and fun course will help you gain a full understanding of how to safely bicycle in a variety of situations and build your confidence by teaching you crash avoidance, traffic management and effective cycling techniques. If you don't feel safe bicycling on the road, this is the class to give you the skills and ability to "drive your bike" like any other vehicle. A bicycle in good working order, water bottle and well-fitting helmet are required. Recommended for adults and children above 14 accompanied by a parent.
LAST WORD - THE RETURN OF YEHUDA MOON!
Have you seen "Yehuda Moon and the Kickstand Cyclery
"? Follow the adventures of Yehuda Moon, car-free bike commuter, and Joe King, recreational and fitness cyclist, as they attempt to overcome their philosophical differences to operate their bike shop, the Kickstand Cyclery.
Here's an appropriate strip for today:
HAVE FUN OUT THERE TODAY!
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