look both ways

One of my biggest fears as a cyclist is getting a “door prize” – basically running into a car door that someone has opened without looking prior to opening it.  I actually will admit that I sometimes ride beside parked cars and kind of tune out this potential problem, but from the stories I have heard in Toronto, I know I should be more cautious.  I will also note that since I am likely to tune out and not pay attention to parked cars, I also recognize the fact that drivers/passengers are also guilty of this and sometimes just forget to look before getting out of the car.  Not an excuse, but I am very conscious of not thinking that drivers are all a bunch of a*@holes that just don’t care.

This is an issue pretty much in every city where cyclists and drivers share the road, and I was happy to find out about the NYC LOOK! campaign that is trying to bring more awareness to pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers alike.

Watch this:

The city is also handing out 26,000 small decals reminding taxi drivers to look for cyclists, which they can affix to their side rear view mirrors.

Read more about it here and here.

I am especially happy that they are also targeting pedestrians because the amount of people who cross the street without even looking first in Toronto, is just astounding.  Look both ways people!

It would be nice if the city of Toronto launched a similar campaign. I think we need it.  Even something as simple as the below.

source: Sreyni Flickr account
“Clint Miceli
Clint Miceli was killed this past week while riding up LaSalle Street. An SUV driver opened his door into the bike lane. Miceli “struck the SUV’s door, flew off his bike and was run over by a passing vehicle that eventually stopped, police said. He suffered severe head injuries and was pronounced dead Monday night at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.” (from the Chicago Tribune)
Clint’s mom of Chicago Drivers:
“They’re not sensitive to bikers,” she said of Chicago drivers. “Bikers are an annoyance to them.”
I didn’t know Clint, but this one really hit close to home. He was just a few years younger than me and was also a graphic designer here in Chicago.
When opening car doors, check your mirror for oncoming bicyclists. They share the same rights to the road as cars. Please be aware of your surroundings.”

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