Friday, May 21, 2010

Cyclist hit and killed in Oakland after being knocked in to traffic by an opening car door

I just came across this very disturbing news article:

I don't normally like to share negative stories like this about cycling but this one has hit a bit close to home.

Cyclists Eric Fitzpatrick was riding his bike on MacAurthur Blvd near Patterson Ave when a woman opened her car door in his path knocking him in to traffic. Eric was then struck by an AC Transit Bus and killed. (check the article posted above for more details)
No word in the article as to wither the woman who opened the car door in unsafe conditions will be held responsible. It is, after all, illegal to open your door with passing traffic wither it be cars or cyclists. I personally have a fear of "being doored" and this incident just adds a whole new level to that fear.

The last few lines to the article above strike me as strangely cold:
"Johnson said traffic was diverted around the intersection of MacArthur Boulevard and Patterson Avenue, but that the collision did not affected AC-Transit service otherwise. Thomason said officers remained in the area at 7:20 p.m., investigating the crash."

Really? The collision did not affect AC-Transit service? Oh that's good. I'm glad a man only died and that people on the buses still got to the grocery store on time.

And the last line is classic. "Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the accident." Duh! It was a stupid driver who wasn't paying attention before opening her door. Now not only is a man dead, but the poor bus driver (who in all reality was most likely going to fast and not paying proper attention either) is now traumatized with the guilt of having killed a man. Perhaps I'm being too harsh, but I'm out there riding these same streets everyday and I see it on the daily.



  1. This is a horrific story- how awful. :(

  2. This is very sad, and all too common. Hopefully with more people riding bikes these stories will get more attention and we can have more strength behind the campaign for complete streets with physically separated bike lanes.

  3. I share your reaction to the same points. To add to that, the woman who opened her door went and got her hair done right away... The writer of this story doesn't 'get it' about bikes in traffic. There needs to be a lot more education and public awareness before this will get better..

  4. You're not too harsh. I have people coming the other way veer into my lane **on purpose** to scare me.
    And btw, does anyone know what happened at Market and 52nd? There's a new white bicycle there. I read the memorial but no info on what happened.

  5. Why ride in the door zone at all? I used to do it, but not anymore.

    I used to think I could see the cars with people in them and avoid getting doored by giving them wide berth. Then one day, I almost got doored, but I stopped in time.

    Now, I make sure that I ride at least 3 feet from any parked car. If that puts me in the middle of a traffic lane, so be it.