Safety Tip: Beware of Parked Car Doors-They Can Open at Anytime

Though it is illegal for drivers and passengers to open their doors into traffic – and bikes are traffic – you don’t want to rely on others for your safety. Follow these tips to avoid getting “doored.”

1. The 3-5 feet to the left of parked cars is called the “Door Zone.” Vehicle doors vary in length, and you should ride outside of the door zone as much as you can.

2. Riding outside of the “Door Zone” has the added benefit of making you more visible to drivers in front of and behind you.

3. Be aware of passenger vehicles (taxis and buses) and always pass on the left to avoid conflicts with drivers entering or exiting the roadway.

4. Use a bell (or your voice) to communicate with drivers and passengers who are opening their doors.

Remember, it’s a two-way street. When you are the driver or passenger in a car, always check behind the vehicle for approaching bikes before opening your door – it’s the law!

This is just one tip for safer cycling, but the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is a wellspring of more useful information. Make them your go-to resource for safety tips, bike classes, events and more at waba.org.