The door zone is an area spanning around 1.3m from the side of a parked car. This is the potential width most car doors can open when someone is getting out. Many cycle lanes go along parked cars and actively promote that cyclists cycle in this door zone. The potential risk to cycling in this zone is death.
What is going to happen if someone opens the door in front of you?
- You’re either going to swerve out into the road, where traffic behind/next to you could hit you.
- You’re going over the door and land in the road, the initial impact could be life threatening, but leaving you lying in the road could lead to you getting run over.
- You’re going to clip the side of the door and get thrown into the road, where passing vehicles could run you over.
- You’re going to go into the edge of the door and the corner of the door will hit you in the head/face, leading to nasty injuries.
Any of the above options aren’t good outcomes for a cyclist. Each has been known to kill a cyclist in ways described above.
What should you do to protect your self? Cycle as far away from parked cars as possible. In some cases you may need to take control of the whole lane to also prevent cars from driving next to you if there isn’t enough space.
Watch the video below that explains the door zone with good effect.