[image via GarySe7en]
So you're pedaling along a bike lane. Ever vigilant and keeping out of the door zone - or at least so you hope. And then, as you are cycling past a particular car - right at the very moment you are parallel to it - you hear that sound... that fateful click which accompanies the pulling of a car's door handle and precedes the flinging open of the door itself. You hear it, and your body reacts before you even have time to register a thought, let alone evaluate the situation and make a decision. Am I in the door zone? Will the swinging door hit me? If I swerve to the left, will I be in the path of car traffic? It hardly matters. The reaction to that click is a knee-jerk response. And what will it be?
Hurrying home at dusk with a pannier full of hot Indian take-out, I heard the blood-chilling click whilst passing a blue sedan. My knee-jerk response was to let out a pitiful yelp and hammer down on the pedals with all my might. I heard the door swing open a fraction of a second later. Would I have cleared it anyway? Very possibly. I really do my best to stay to the left in the bike lane. But our danger-evading instincts are strong and do not always work in our favour. I could have slammed the brakes. I could have swerved into traffic. We can't always control how we react when adrenaline floods our system.
It's times like these I wish that bike lanes weren't placed directly in the door-zone half the time. I know, what a tiresomely clichéd complaint.