Door Zone Face Off!!

Below is an interesting discussion I had with John. We went back and forth for a while.

Originally, I was upset about his door zone webpage.

I do agree that bike lanes should not be in door zones even though it’s “within code” in the highway manual. This is why the highway code is not always the best place for bikway design, and we need to use things that work elsewhere.

Initially, I thought that the door zone page had useful info, but then I realized that like other door zone pages, it was merely a thinly disguised anti-bike lane page.

I looked at the data and presented it to Mr. John. He got angrier and angrier.

At first, he repeated stale notions like the idea that most rear end collisions occur in rural areas, which is not true as most bike collisions are urban and many of the studies do not even list rural collisions.

The results are very consistent in showing how there are some major injuries and a few deaths in the door zone there are worse kinds of injuries.

The more data I gave, the more personal John got. I noticed that this was a pattern.

If the data is bad then we get personal. Then we argue from authority.

Yes, I love being insulted in arguments because it makes me feel as if I’m getting somewhere. ūüôā

But then again, I’m not a bik exprt (sic), but I do know how to spell expert. ūüôā

Below is the transcript:

We both want to make riding safer by better informing cyclists.

I have no interest in angering you, and no interest in debating you.

We are too intelligent, and reasonable people with the same information in front of us.

I feel that you should tell cyclists ALL the information that they need to make a smart decision.

I was merely asking for more data because I thought that your webpage was misleading by telling cyclists to ride in places where they are more likely to die.

I avoid the door zone as much as possible, but I also like to stay out¬†of the travel lane especially when cars are moving faster than 30 MPH¬†because we both know that’s the speed where collisions become deadly¬†and that’s the speed where overtaking by motorists is more necessary.

In San Diego, most roads are very fast. Fortunately, more of them are getting bike lanes which force motorists to pass with greater
distance. Bike lanes also allow me to ride further away from the door zone.

Can you please just look at the data in a new way rather thanimmediately trying to make up some kind of excuse on why this is unimportant.

I can show you places where you distort the data.

I looked at your quote:


“Ms. Laird could have understood that the relative risk of riding in¬†the “door zone” from “dooring” collisions and other crashes is many¬†times higher than the risk of being struck by overtaking vehicles when¬†riding outside the “door zone.” She might then have ridden at the very¬†left edge of the marked bike lane, or outside the lane. ”

I found dooring to be 0.44% in New York and Orlando, 0%, both of which are not rural. NYC is WELL LIT as well.

Toronto has a 0.4% of deaths in 2003 from dooring while there are 4x as many deaths from being rear ended.

Also, there are no more COLLISIONS in Toronto from dooring than being rear ended.

In every study, I listed below there are at least 4x more overtaking deaths than door zone deaths including the original Cross study.

In his study, dooring was a mere 0.6% fatal vs. 24% by being rear ended.

Even with the statistical games that John Forester plays, which¬†discounts situations where I find myself all the time, it’s 5% of
deaths are by rear ending which is 8x as high for being rear ended.

I’m just saying that whenever you give risk of the door zone, you need¬†to give fatalities as well as the number of fatalities in other areas¬†such as the travel lane. Otherwise, the data is misleading.

>And that some places are different from others — but on the other hand,¬†most streets with parallel parking do not have high speed >limits.

Which would suggest that they are safer.

However, I ride on a road, daily, where there is parallel parking and people ride > 50 MPH. Should I take the lane and increase my risk of death by 4x?

> The fact that something is illegal doesn’t keep it from happening, now does¬†it? Doesn’t keep either of these kinds of crashes from happening.

Nor does it prevent the 4x (or much more) chance of being rear ended.

>> No, actually, rear-ending often happens to cyclists riding at night without lights.

So rear ending never happens during the day?

Actually, during the day, collisions with motor vehicles, in urban areas, is still more deadly than being hit by a door.

>Diving into a pool where you can’t tell if it’s deep enough is legal too.

Why are you talking of swimming pools.

John, you are intelligent person. Please stay on topic.

> Yes, getting rear-ended on rural roads is a major cause of fatalities. It is  not the major cause of fatalities in urban areas. Read this:

Getting rear ended during the day, indeed, is more common for  fatalities in urban areas than being doored.

Even the crusty Cross study from the 1970’s show rearending is 3x¬†higher than other one.

> That’s because the Cross study only accounts for how many crashes occurred.¬†¬†It makes no account of whether there are parked

> cars. Studies in urban areas show several times the rate of doorings. Then there are all the other types of crashes that happen by

>riding too close to parked cars. You didn’t read¬†my examination.
No, the Toronto study that you linked to showed no more rear ending COLLISIONS than doorings.

Still, I argue that using  collision data is misleading. This is a common tactic used to distort data and to make things look more dangerous than it is. For example, when a study shows that cycle tracks have more collisions this is said to show that they are unsafe even when they save lives.

This data is not put under the same microscope that other data is put under, but merely accepted due to confirmation bias.

When people talk about risk, they want to know if they will die or be¬†seriously injured. Why do you use the word “risk” in a non-standard¬†way?

> Again, because he made no study of whether the streets had parallel parking or not, greatly diluting the results. Read my material > bout Santa Barbara, Gainesville, Austin, Boston, Toronto.

I’m arguing that you are misleading people and you should include¬†travel lane deaths from the papers you show as well as more recent¬†evidence from urban areas such as New York. I did much of this work¬†for you by giving you three new papers.

You did not read the papers, but merely referred me to your biased view of doorings based on misreadings of papers.

I am trying to correct you on this. I have no idea why you are wasting time arguing rather than looking at the data.
I’d like you to put this up on your site.

Don’t say that it happened on rural roads at night.

>Now you’re getting me angry. Don’t you tell me what to say, thank you very¬†much. I have a right to my opinions, and you don’t

> have a right to order me around.

But this is a matter of data and not opinion, right?

We have to go with the data no matter whether we like it or not.

Or are you suggesting that riding style is a “matter of opinion”?

I did and I was told there was “scientific evidence” of a riding style. I looked at the evidence, and it was the opposite of what was claimed. I’m seeing a pattern here.

2. Rural roads are not rural, this means that the cyclists has no bike
lane nor shoulder. By riding vehicularly, you are converting an urban
road into a rural one.

> Rural roads are not rural? Yeah, and the Pope isn’t Catholic.

You are familiar with Cross’s definition of rural roads which are high¬†¬†speed and with no shoulder, right?

To say “rural” road like you did is misleading because you don’t¬†clarify that many of these roads are in cities. I ride on one

> You are becoming a troll now.

Why are you becoming angry when I am giving you good information?

What do you mean by troll, a well informed person?

> There is no “only reason” for any type of¬†crash. The major reason is that traffic is slow. People are compelled to
> ride in the line by many things, even if they don’t want to.

This is true, but you seem to imply that merely riding in the door zone, a single cause, creates accidents. This is untrue. Other causes MOST door zone deaths are one motorist acting unlawfully and high speed traffic. Cyclists can not control for these things.

Riding in the lane to “prevent a door zone accident” opens a cyclist up to other dangers which is why better infrastructure is needed.

I am working to eliminate these kinds of risks as well as the notion that people have to wear stupid, bright colors and to have big
flashing lights. There are people who are rear ended here, in San Diego, and they have all the lights.

> You have cited a lot of numbers without saying where they are from or what  the amount of mileage was on any of these, or what > kind of streets.

I gave you links to all my data.

> Nonsense to make this comparison because there are many kinds of crashes
> between intersections, and not only the overtaking crash. And because 75% or
> more of bicycle crashes don’t involve a car at all.

Most deaths do.

The link you gave me above was talking about how to prevent DEATH.

This is another statistical trick. To compare door zone collision rate with the death rate for rear ending which is divided by some arbitrarily large number like total cyclist collisions.

We must compare apples to apples and door zone deaths are so low in many areas to be non-existant. Why make such a scary page about something that doesn’t even exist in some places?

I smell a hidden agenda.

My argument is that riding vehicularly will increase risk of death or serious injury.

I posted tons of evidence to support this.

I am starting to feel that you are attached to certain ideas and everything is getting distorted around it.

In fact, being rear ended is the most deadly of all collisions in every study I have seen including the ones you presented.

> But it is very rare.

If by rare, you mean to say that “while rare, there are 4x as many¬†travel lane deaths as door zone deaths.”

Another way to say it is that travel lane deaths are rare, but door zone deaths are 4x as rare.

In fact, door zone deaths are so rare as to not even worry about. I¬†don’t even worry about riding in the door zone for this reason.

I agree that cycling is relatively safe, though several times more dangerous than driving a car and to many more complicated.

Since it is so safe, the travel lane is mostly safe, the door zone is much safer, why are we concerned about the door zone at all?

Why not make a page urging for better infrastructure so more people can ride?

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