There is a very serious safety issue with the bicycle lane being obstructed by the door zone of adjacent parked cars.
By Kevin Love
Published December 13, 2018
New bicycle lanes were recently installed on Gage Avenue, north of Dunsmure Road. As we can see from the following photographs, there is a very serious safety issue with the bicycle lane being obstructed by the door zone of adjacent parked cars.
I have previously written about unsafe door zone bike lanes. Let's see if these newest lanes are any better.
Photo #1: Gage north of Dunsmure, looking north
As we see from photo #1, this is a door zone bike lane. There are a considerable number of motor vehicles parked adjacent to the bike lane in a way that poses an unacceptable safety risk due to dooring anyone who is using the bike lane.
At first glance, one may think that motor vehicle operators have parked unduly far away from the curb due to the snow seen in the photo. But this is not the case, as is shown in photo #2.
Photo #2: Close up of right front tire of white van in foreground of photo #1
We see in photo #2 that the white van in the foreground of photo #1 is actually parked quite close to the curb, and yet its door zone is substantially intruding into the bicycle lane.
Photo #3: Next motor vehicle north on Gage
Photo #3 is of the blue pick-up truck that is seen immediately to the north of the white van in photo #1. It is the next motor vehicle in this line of parked motor vehicles.
As we see from photo #4, it is parked with its tire almost touching the curb. In spite of this, its door zone is substantially intruding into the bicycle lane, posing an unacceptable danger to bicycle traffic.
Photo #4: Close-up of tire of truck in photo #3
Photos #5 and #6 are showing a repetition of this same danger with the white car next in line. Although it is parked with its tire next to the curb, its door zone is intruding into the bicycle lane, posing an unacceptable risk of dooring bicycle traffic.
Photo #5: Next motor vehicle north on Gage
Photo #6: Close-up of tire of motor vehicle in photo #5
Photo #7: Next motor vehicle north on Gage
In photo #7, we see that the car is parked obstructing the bicycle lane, with its door zone protruding all or almost all the way across the bicycle lane. Note that the bicycle lane swings in toward the curb here.
Also note that the "No Stopping" sign is posted on the hydro pole to the north of this car. So there is no sign forbidding motor vehicle operators from parking in this location.
For a review of the dangers due to dooring, please see my article published in Raise the Hammer on July 4, 2014. Doorings in Toronto accounted for 11.9 percent of all crashes until Ontario police stopped collecting statistics on dooring. This article may be found at:
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation standards [PDF] are given in Ontario Traffic Manual Book 18: Cycling Facilities.
In order to prevent the danger due to dooring, this recommends a 1.0 metre buffer zone when a bicycle lane is adjacent to motor vehicle parking, and has a minimum 0.5 metre buffer zone. See Table 4.3 on page 61.
In the City of Hamilton, motor vehicle operators are permitted [PDF] to park their motor vehicles up to 30 cm away from the curb. See item 12. (2) (a) on page 26.
In these particular photos, the motor vehicles were parked directly next to the curb. If the motor vehicle operators were to park 30 cm away from the curb, they would be substantially obstructing the bicycle lane, with the motor vehicle door zone protruding all or almost all the way across the bicycle lane.
This leads to the conclusion that the present roadway configuration is unacceptably dangerous. Due to the danger of dooring, the most dangerous place to ride a bicycle on this street is in the bicycle lane. It needs to be corrected to eliminate the danger of dooring and to bring it into compliance with Book 18.
1. I recommend that private motor vehicle parking be removed from Gage Avenue, and from all other areas where the door zone of such motor vehicles protrudes into the bicycle lane. In this street, the public space currently used for private motor vehicle parking should instead be used to upgrade the bicycle lanes to be protected bicycle lanes.
2. I recommend that the Book 18 standard of a one-metre buffer zone be used between all bicycle lanes and the doors of any adjacent parked private motor vehicles.
3. Whenever there are bicycle lanes adjacent to parked private motor vehicles, I recommend that these parked private motor vehicles be positioned between the bicycle lane and the general traffic lane. This creates a protected bicycle lane. For example, the current configuration of Charlton and Herkimer streets in Hamilton. Here is a video that shows how this works.
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