Letter: Cycling by parked cars is death-defying

Many people open a car door without looking behind first—this can kill a cyclist.

To the editor:

I want to point out that the most deadly risk to cyclists is passing a parked car. Many people open a car door without looking behind first—this can kill a cyclist.

The impact is the same as a truck driving out of a side street into the road 10 feet in front of your car without stopping. Without warning and with no chance to take evasive action you are going to hit the truck and you will probably die.

The cycle lanes are one meter wide, cars are often parked to the right of the cycle lane. When a door is opened it will block the whole lane. If you have the time to react your choices are to brake and hope to not hit the door, or swerve into the traffic on your left. Both options could kill you. If you are less than 10 feet away from the door when it opens you will hit it hard as there is no way to stop in time.

I first saw this, 30 years ago, when a friend of mine was decapitated by a car door opening into him. We were cycling in Vancouver at the time. I have never forgotten the horror of that day.

I have taught my children that the space within one metre of a parked car is called the death zone and that they should always move into the road to avoid this. When I do this I am often treated with hostility by drivers who just have never considered the dangers that cyclists face.

I have never seen any safety education messages or videos to point out this clear and constant danger.

All it takes to keep people safe is that every driver or passenger always checks behind them and looks to see that it is safe for them to open their door. It only takes one second

I am both a car driver and a cyclist.

 

Gareth Eckley, Kelowna

 

 

Just Posted

Day of Remembrance honours road traffic victims

People killed or seriously injured on Canadian roads remembered Sunday in Kelowna

Snowfall warning between Merritt and Hope

As much as 20 centimteres of the white stuff is expected along a stretch of the Coquhialla

Gallery celebrates long history of art appreciation

Gallery Odin, at Silver Star Mountain, is gearing up to open their 16th annual Winter Exhibition

Permitted burns in Okanagan mountains

Kelowna Fire Department says please don’t call 911

Pets sit in Santa’s lap

Kelowna - The Okanagan Small Dog Rescue Society held a pet photo opt today

Drones used in search for clues about missing women

A volunteer search party was supported by professional drone operators

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates debate different paths for party

Third debate held Sunday, Nov. 19 at Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Conference Centre

Vernon poet makes poetry prize shortlist

He’s been involved with the craft since the ’70s, gaining recognition along the way

LIVE: BC Liberals kick off leadership debate in Nanaimo

Candidates’ forum is at noon at Vancouver Island Conference Centre

Gallery celebrates long history of art appreciation

Gallery Odin, at Silver Star Mountain, is gearing up to open their 16th annual Winter Exhibition

WATCH: Thousands gathering in Abbotsford for Const. John Davidson funeral procession

Celebration of life to follow at Abbotsford Centre at 1 p.m.

Back-to-back wins for the Vees this weekend

Penticton Vees take down Capitals 10-1

Start on time: Canucks looking to shake first-period struggles

Canucks centre Bo Horvat said the formula for getting a leg up is there for everyone to see

COMMUTER ALERT: Snowfall warnings in effect across B.C.

Travelling this weekend? Check the forecasts before hitting the road

Most Read