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30-Year-Old Cyclist Killed in Dooring Accident in SF

For the second time in a little over a year, a cyclist has died in San Francisco because of an open car door. A dooring happens when the occupant of a car opens their door in the path of a cyclist, who in most cases, is riding where they are supposed to.

On Friday, May 30, 2020, a cyclist was killed while riding on Frederick Street near Kezar Stadium. Police responded to the call to find a 30-year-old man on the pavement, and he was quickly transported to a local hospital. Unfortunately, he later succumbed to his injuries.

The SFPD reported that the accident happened when an occupant of a car parked along Frederick Street opened the door right in the path of the cyclist ejecting him from his bike. Tragically, he then collided with a vehicle traveling on Frederick.

All Too Familiar

For cyclists in the Bay Area, this is an all too familiar scene as a woman was killed on March 8, 2019, when a car parked on Howard Street opened in front of her. She managed to swerve but was then struck by a passing truck.

Since then, cycling enthusiasts and activists have joined together to convert more bike lanes to protected bike lanes and to get them away from hazards like opening car doors. After the accident, the city agreed to convert several blocks of Howard Street to protected lanes meaning they will put up some sort of physical barrier to keep cars from hitting cyclists while in the bike lane and add a buffer between the parked cars and the bike lane.

Quick Response, But is It Enough?

The city responded putting up the fastest protected lane on that section of Howard and pledged more money to add more protected lanes along Howard Street. Within a couple of weeks, more money was pledged to add three more blocks on Howard to get protected bike lanes including the buffer zone.

Many say that three additional blocks weren’t enough and that the protected lanes should go all the way to the waterfront.

The retrofits promised to Howard Street were completed in January of 2020 and included a bike lane protected by vehicle parking buffer between Sixth and 11th streets, wider crosswalks, and increased loading zones to keep trucks from parking in bike lanes.

More to Come?

Right now it’s unclear if this new dooring tragedy will provide the catalyst to make similar changes on Frederick Street and parts of the city outside the Southern Market. But the city has both short-term “quick-build” projects like the one on Howard Street, and a long-term plan to increase both green and cycling spaces for all areas of the city.

So maybe, once again good can come from tragedy, and SF won’t lose more cyclists to inattentive motorists opening their doors into a bike lane.