Cycling’s death zone – legislate against fools

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I was appalled a while ago to see an elite cyclist blasting along in the death zone. This guy would have been going a minimum of 50 km/hour inches away from parked cars. Stupid fool.

death zone montreal suzanne_squire_parc_ave_monument-bike-death

His behaviour should be illegal. But some crazy cycling advocates and the odd misguided coroner want to blame people opening car doors. See coroner link below and my earlier blog on “dooring”, helmets and hi-viz. Don’t get me wrong – we also need to design better cycling infrastructure that doesn’t put cyclists in the death zone.

door zone death CentSqDeath

There is NO way that anyone, even with the best of intentions who looked carefully behind them before inching open a car door could possibly have avoided this speeding fool. Some advocates of riding in the door zone say that everyone inside a car should be taught the Dutch Reach (opening the car door by reaching across the body with the more distant hand). The Dutch Reach doesn’t exist. It’s another myth.

The physics for humans seeing through metal door frames hasn’t been invented yet. Child locks on back doors of cars are great. But even with the best will in the world, the best education programs, the toughest laws against door openers, the most earnest recommendations of coroners and so an ad nauseum, cyclists will always ride into doors if they ride in the death zone. But more often they will swerve into the path of oncoming traffic before their conscious brain has registered what they’ve actually done.

The law needs to change so that cyclists are given confidence to ride safely and occupy their full lane. Cyclists need to be educated for their own good to stay out of the death zone.

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I will not be one bit surprised if he is the next fatality along the stretch of road I cycle on every day.

If these photos are about your loved ones please don’t be upset. Rather, please join in me campaigning to make it illegal for cyclists to ride in car door zones – the death zone.

If these cyclists had been occupying their lanes confidently, they would probably still be alive.

That they were forced to cower in the death zone is the fault of our road culture and I am not saying they were fools to be in the death zone. If you’ve read this far I hope you’ll understand my headline.

Here are the links for each story.

Fatality Tracker: Cyclist avoids dooring and falls under wheels of semi truck

It’s also clear from the above links that some badly designed “cycling lanes” painted on roads can also be death zones with the dangers of dooring. Cyclists like me who NEVER ride in the death zone then cop more abuse from motorists for not using the death lane, thanks to misguided cycling organisations like Cycling Advocates Network who give their imprimatur to these cheap life-threatening non-“fixes.”

2 thoughts on “Cycling’s death zone – legislate against fools

  1. How does your proposal work for people who pedal slowly. Take the lane at 15km/h along an arterial road? No amount of legislation or education would stop the barrage of abuse and punishment from frustrated drivers.


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