Home > Bicycling, Transit > Failure to yield

Failure to yield

October 15, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

[ UPDATE: 1/21/2012 - I'll be honest here and say that when I hear stories like this at Metro, I'm not always sure they are completely true. The rumor mill at Metro can be a little like a game of "Telephone" on steroids. That said, I was chatting with another supervisor recently about this particular story and asked if he knew it was true.  "Absolutely" was his answer.  He knew details about which route, the exact location of the collision, and why the cop gave this guy the ticket.  So, be safe out there when opening your car door - you might damage your car, get a ticket, or worse... ]

Today somebody opened his car door in front of my bus, obviously without looking. I honked and slowed the bus enough to give him time to slam his door shut. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure I would have hit him – I try to stay as far away from car doors as possible, but Seattle streets are narrow! Still, it was a little too close for comfort.

This incident reminds me of a story I recently heard from one of the supervisors at Metro. He was on the scene of a bus vs. car door/driver’s hand. The driver of the car had opened his door into traffic without looking and had his car door, along with three of his fingers, removed by the bus. As he was being wheeled away to the ambulance the police officer at the scene handed him a ticket for failure to yield.

So… The next time you are opening your car door into traffic do yourself a favor and LOOK behind you and open the door slowly while still looking. This is also a good idea so you don’t hit a cyclist!

Categories: Bicycling, Transit
  1. March 17, 2010 at 8:53 pm | #1

    Next time take out the door, if that happens enough motorists will start looking. That could save many cyclists from the door prize!

    I kid of course :)

  2. March 17, 2010 at 9:07 pm | #2

    Sadly, I don’t think this sort of Darwinian solution would work. Pedestrians get hit by vehicles or even trains because of their own inattention all the time. Sadly that doesn’t seem to thin the herd enough to remove people who J-walk in front of my bus in *very* stupid and dangerous ways…

    I wish I could video it all and post it up on YouTube. The point is that ALL of us need to be cautious at ALL times when we’re on the road – for our safety and the safety of others. Cyclist, pedestrian, and motorist.

  3. January 21, 2012 at 11:13 am | #3

    In Pennsylvania, it’s explicitly stated in the vehicle code not to do that:

    http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/75/00.037.005.000..HTM

    TITLE 75
    VEHICLES
    § 3705. Opening and closing vehicle doors.

    No person shall open any door on a motor vehicle unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on a side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.

  1. March 17, 2010 at 8:51 pm | #1
  2. March 30, 2010 at 6:21 pm | #2

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