Doored cyclist 'fine' and back on bike
Woman hurt in a dooring incident on Collins Street says she was trying to keep safe when hit, but doesn't blame the taxi passenger who opened his door.PT1M43S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-352ph 620 349 March 19, 2014
Painted pictures on the road of bicycles are confusing road users and creating a "false sense of security" because they are not actually bike lanes, the state's top bicycle police officer has said.
Sergeant Arty Lavos, state bicycle operations coordinator, was answering questions about the road rules and bicycles after a taxi passenger was filmed on camera opening a car door into the path of a cyclist travelling down the kerb side of the lane. Known as dooring, the incident occurred on Collins Street, Melbourne on Monday.
Sergeant Lavos said lanes with bicycles drawn on them were not technically bicycle lanes. He pointed out a "classic example" in front of the Victoria Police Centre in Flinders Street.
"That's a painted bicycle symbol in that lane there, but it is not a bike lane because it has no signage," Sergeant Lavos said.
"It must have a "start bike lane" sign on the top (of a pole), as well as the markings on the road, then an end sign either at an intersection or wherever it technically ends," he said.
"Technically speaking, if I was a cyclist who knew no better, I would be feeling pretty safe in that lane, but it is really not a legal lane on its own.
"That's a false sense of security," he said.
A Brighton man, 65, has come forward to police over the incident. Sergeant Lavos was not prepared to go into the details of the case but said he had been asked many times since the video aired whether it was a bike lane.
"Was Collins Street a designated bike lane where the cyclist was riding a bike lane? No, it isn't, but the cyclist is quite entitled to be in that left lane.
"Motorcyclists technically can't, because they are motor vehicles – that's overtaking on the left... bicycles excepted. The only time bicycles can't go up a lefthand side of a motor vehicle is when the vehicle is indicating and in the process of turning," he said.
The cyclist involved in the dooring incident has told Fairfax Media her bike was damaged and she has bruises and a scrape as a result. Sergeant Lavos said the woman was lucky to be alive.
"I have hit a door before from my cycling experience. It's like hitting a brick wall. It is not a great feeling and I wasn't going very fast," Sergeant Lavos said.
"I cringe every time I see that footage."
He said police and regulators could only do so much: "It is really up to us as road users to think of the situation as: 'I am not just a cyclist', 'I am not just a motor vehicle driver'. I am actually part of one community and I have rights and responsibilities and we really need to work together and look after each another.
"Road trauma affects everybody," he said.
"Let's take away the legal side of what occurred yesterday the first thing I would be asking I would be asking the cyclist are you OK?"
He said road users should plan for the dangers ahead and be awake to drivers who might be preparing to leave the car or move out of a car space. He encouraged riders to use a bicycle bell.
He said there appeared to be more cyclists, motorcyclists and drivers using cameras, in part for insurance purposes. He said there had been no increase in the number of dooring reports to police but added not all doorings were reported.