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The Door Prize: Cyclists killed by dooring

by Rhys Southan, Ampersandy, and Michael Bluejay • Last update: March 2013
This is a list of cyclists killed because of motorists opening their doors in the cyclist's path.
They're presented both to show cyclists how important it is for them to not ride in the door zone, but also to provide ammunition to convince local governments not to do stupid things like allowing cars to park in bike lanes, as is done in Austin, Texas.

Neill Townsend  (October 5, 2012, Chicago, IL)
Age 32.  Swerved to avoid a car door opened in his path, then fell under the wheels of a passing semi truck and killed.  "This is why I don't ride a bike in the city. I'm too afraid," said Tara Werling, 18, shivering as she stood near the scene of the collision. "The bike lanes are too narrow. You're right up against the cars. If someone opens a door, you have to swerve."  And, she added, "no helmet is going to save you when you go up against a car."  Chicago Tribune
George E. Schilling  (November 26, 2010, Woodbury Heights, NJ)
Age 57, killed when he crashed his bicycle into the open door of a truck parked on the shoulder of Evergreen Ave.  Pronounced dead at the hospital.  The vehicle's owner was partially sitting in the truck when the collision happened.  Gloucester County Times
Marcus Ewing  (October 22, 2010, New York City, NY)
Ewing, a 27 year old social worker, was killed when a driver opened his car door and knocked the cyclist into the path of an oncoming truck.  NY Daily News
Jasmine Herron  (September 11, 2010, Brooklyn, NY)
Jasmine Herron, 23, an artist and barista, was hit when a driver in a parked car opened her door.  The impact propelled Ms. Herron into the path of a B45 bus, which struck her and then ran over her.  NY Times
Erik Fitzpatrick  (May 19, 2010, Oakland, CA)
Law student Erik Fitzpatrick, 35, was bicycling eastbound on MacArthur when he swerved to avoid the door of a black Chrysler Pacifica that was being opened by a 42-year-old Manteca woman. Fitzpatrick hit the car door, then bounced off it into the back of the bus, and was pinned underneath it. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.  SF Gate
Megan Charlop  (March 17, 2010, Bronx, NY)
Megan Charlop, 57, a public health advocate was bicycling to work when she swerved to avoid an opening car door.  A city bus struck her, killing her instantly.  Bronx News
Stanley Wang  (June 2008, Moorestown, NJ)
Stanley L. Wang, 67, former general counsel for Comcast, was bicycling east on East Main Street at 12:20 p.m.  He started to pass a parked pickup truck when the driver of the truck opened his door.  Wang hit the door and was knocked from his bike into the street, where he was struck by an eastbound car that was also passing the truck.  He was pronounced dead at Kennedy Memorial Hospital.  Biz Journals
father, 57, name withheld  (May 22, 2008, Toronto, Canada)
The 57-year-old cyclist was riding along Eglinton Ave. when a woman opened her door without looking.  Police say the man hit the door, lost control of his bike, fell onto the road and was struck by a truck shortly after 1 p.m.  He died in hospital.  The Star: Article 1, 2
David Smith  (December 5, 2007, Manhattan, NY)
Bicyclist David Smith, 63, died after he struck an open car door, fell off his bicycle and landed in the street, where he was hit by a truck.  NY Times

Suman Ghosh  (December 16, 2008, Calcutta)

A driver opened his door in Ghosh's path, knocking Ghosh to the ground, where a bus ran over his head. He was 38. Telegraph India

Clinton Miceli  (June 9, 2008, Chicago)

An SUV driver opened his door in Miceli's path. Micele hit the door, landed in traffic, and was run over by another vehicle and killed. He was 22 years old. Chicago Tribune

Elizabeth Padilla  (June 9, 2005, Brooklyn)

28-year old Liz Padilla was killed June 9, 2005 in Park Slope after swerving from a truck's open car door and hitting another truck. visual resistance, NY Daily News

Dell Covington  (Nov. 18, 2004, Manhattan)

At 10:45 a.m., on November 18, 2004, Bike Messenger Dell Covington, 42, of Woodhaven, Brooklyn, was riding north on Eighth Avenue near 49th Street. He tried to negotiate a narrow space between a double-parked delivery truck and a police prisoner transport van. That's when he slammed into a door opened by one of the deliverymen in the truck, according to the police account. ahalenia.com

Lucas Cox  (Sept. 16, 2002, New Orleans)

On Sept. 16, 2002, 33-year-old Lucas Cox was riding his bicycle on Camp Street, where he was forced to swerve out into traffic to avoid an opening car door. The abrupt move forced him into the path of an 18-wheel truck that killed him instantly. Best of New Orleans

Dana Laird  (July 2, 2002, Cambridge, MA)

Dana Laird, a 36 year old doctoral student at Tufts, was killed in front of 501 Massachusetts Avenue when a driver opened the door of an SUV across the bike lane.  She swerved, hit the door, fell, and was run over by a bus which killed her instantly.   BikExprt #1, #2, #3; Boston Phoenix

Keith Provost  (June 24, 2001, Vancouver)

On June 24, 2001, 40 year-old actor Keith Provost was killed during a bike ride in Vancouver when someone opened their car door without looking. Provost's bicycle slammed into open car door, he travelled another 5 meters before landing on his upper body. He died of head injuries the next day. BicycleSafe

Philip Slipakoff  (Jan. 6, 1998, New Orleans)

Killed when his bicycle was knocked into path of moving vehicle after the door of parked car swung open. Door Zone Project

Andreas Karayiannis  (Oct. 4, 1997, Cyprus)

Sixty-eight-year-old Andreas Karayiannis died in a dooring accident on October 4, 1997 in Nicosia, Cyprus. The man was cycling down Nikis avenue when a door from a parked car swung open and knocked him off balance. As Karayiannis fell to the ground, he was hit by the passing car and killed. hri.org

Brian Thang Yiean Wong  (July 18, 1997, Toronto, Ontario)

Age 29, killed when his bicycle hit an open van door and he was thrown into path of a school bus. Door Zone Project

Rosemarie Brodie  (Oct. 28, 1996, Manhattan)

Rosemarie Brodie, 33, of East 85th St., was doored off her bike and thrown into the path of a van that ran over her on York Ave. near 72nd St. in the morning of Oct. 28, 1996. cars-suck.org

Clyde Moss  (Oct. 16, 1996, Manhattan)

Clyde Moss of Brooklyn, 52, a daily bike commuter for 30 years, was doored off his bike and thrown into the path of a truck that ran over him on Church St. near Franklin St. in lower Manhattan just before 8 a.m. transalt, cars-suck.org

Eugene Chang  (Aug. 19, 1994, San Francisco)

Killed while commuting. At 9:30 a.m., a car door suddenly opened in his path. The top of the door primarily impacted his neck. Barry Popik

Chantal Malard  (June 1994, Montreal)

In June 1994, Chantal Malard, a Montreal cyclist, was killed when a motorist opened a car door into her path.  Malard hit the car door and was thrown into the path of a truck.  She died on the road. magma.co/~ocbc

Winnie Stallion  (March 6, 1989, Derby, UK)

Age 68, killed in Derby, UK. A car passed her and parked, and as she pulled out to pass the parked car, the driver opened the door and knocked her off her bike. She lapsed into a coma, and two days later she died. Door Zone Project

Samuel Hernandez  (May 18, 1987, Santa Ana, CA)

Age 19. Killed when his bicycle was knocked into traffic by open truck door, struck by passing car. Door Zone Project


Ghost Cycle  (Seattle)
It's unclear from the website whether this victim of dooring in Seattle survived or not. Ghost Cycle

What does the law say?

It's illegal for drivers to open their doors in the path of bicyclists or other road users in many, perhaps most states.  For example, there's Florida, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas, which use the Uniform Traffic Code.

How to Not Get Hit by Cars

Read our guide about how to bicycle safely.

 

Fan Mail

Splendid! I have been commuting to work year round for several years, and have come to many of the same conclusions you have. You put things very clearly, and there are a few points I hadn't thought of--thank you! I'm going to pass this info around. --Ron Grosslein, Amherst, MA

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Safe Road Riding Game/Quiz

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation has an excellent Safe Road Riding Game/Quiz. Most bike safety stuff I see tells you little more than to wear your helmet and follow the law -- as though it were that easy to be safe. But PennDOT's quiz presents real-world scenarios: How do you avoid that car door opening in front of you? What do you do when you're approaching a sewer grate? Good stuff.


Links

See the other sites which link to us.


Note to "Effective Cycling" fans

If you're about to send me an email telling me how stupid the advice on this site is, please save yourself the trouble. Trust me, I've heard all the arguments before (ad nauseum) and I simply disagree. I never write to EC websites to complain that I don't like their advice, so there's no need for you to complain about mine. (Here's more about the the difference of opinion for those wondering what the fuss is about.)


Disclaimer

I have developed this site to provide what I believe is very good advice to help you avoid getting hit by cars. But of course, bicycling will never be 100% safe, and I can't guarantee you won't get hit by a car, even if you follow all the advice on this page. (Naturally, I believe if you follow this advice you will be much less likely to suffer a collision than if you ignore it.) Ultimately, you are responsible for your own safety.

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