The door zone is one of the biggest urban threats to bicyclists. Conventional bike lanes that squeeze bicyclists between the door zone and automobile traffic leave little room for error, but the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is piloting a series of projects designed to encourage bicyclists to steer clear of the door zone.
On sections of Polk Street, pictured above (and yes, we added the green but do hope to see green bike lanes on Polk Street some day soon!), the SFMTA has painted in a batch of T’s in the bike lanes that are supposed to guide bicyclists away from the door zone. While the treatment seems to be an improvement over typical door zone lanes, it also highlights how little street width is available for cyclists to ride safely.
I asked our graphics designer Carly Clark to do a little photoshopping to illustrate how much real space bicyclists have if you consider the door zone. If you take a standard five foot bike lane, like the one above, and factor in the door zone, you realize bicyclists are only given a sliver of a space that is about one to two feet wide, depending on the width of the lane, and the size of a car door.
According to the SFMTA, dooring is the second most common form of injury collision involving cyclists, behind unsafe speed, though the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) points out that dooring is the highest injury collision type caused by motorists or their passengers.