This story was submitted by cyclist and Coalition member Pierre Avignon.
Tonight, I was parked across from King Middle School a little after 7pm, waiting to pick up my daughter and her friends from an activity. I come early so I can listen to the awesome chorus they are preparing for Christmas.
For the first time in my life I almost doored a cyclist and I am guessing the outcome would not have been good for the young guy who flew by me at a good speed, entirely dressed in black (or dark colored clothing) and no lights on. This cyclist was lucky to the fact that the motorist (aka me) knew what kind of danger a bike lane in the door zone represents, lucky to have passed by a motorist who knows how and what to check for, who not only uses his rear view mirror but looks behind as he opens his door. That’s when the dark flying rider appeared out of nowhere. I instantly pulled the door back and sat straight and still in my seat with the thought of the worst nightmare, his and mine.
I stayed in the car while a few more cyclists passed by, maybe one or two per minute. Out of maybe twenty only one passed the legal requirement of a front light and rear reflector, still dressed in dark clothing.
We all know this is not new, that it is a very big problem, especially at this time of the year, that not only these people put their safety at risk but also contribute to the negative image too many motorists have of the rest of us. The closeness of the incident tonight made me want to have been able to capture it on video to demonstrate how insane it is to ride a bicycle at night without lights. So instead I took two pictures, one of my left rear view mirror, which is what most motorists look at last, before swinging a door open and another one of two cyclists in the road ahead, that scene was taken about ten minutes after the “close dooring” incident. I purposely increased the exposure and cancelled the flash in order to obtain the closest image of what I could see in reality.
I know this is not new to anyone of us, but what struck me tonight is the closeness of the incident, and after sitting there longer which I don’t normally do, the number of cyclists who venture in the dark on those busy arteries without seemingly a care in the world.