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Paul Schimek's unpublished
letter to the Boston Globe

[Paul Schimek is a former President of the
Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition  and a certified
League of American Bicyclists instructor. He sent this
letter to the
Globe on July 4, 2002-- John S. Allen]

Death of Cyclist Was Easily Preventable

Dana Laird died after getting "doored" while riding her bicycle in a bike lane. What a terrible, preventable tragedy. Cyclists should heed the lesson: always ride far enough away from parked cars to be out of range of opening doors -- no matter how much following traffic is inconvenienced. Every motorist who has honked at a cyclist for being on the road is partly to blame for this tragedy. Honking and shouting creates the climate of fear that prevents many bicyclists from claiming a safe position in the travel lane.

Bike lanes are popular because of the fear of getting hit from behind. In urban areas in daylight, this risk is very small. The real threats are turning and parked cars. Bike lanes tell bicyclists to stay in the bike lane, even when that puts them in the door zone or on the right side of right-turning cars, thereby increasing their risk. In Dana's memory, let's ride as far into the travel lane as necessary to be safe and let's refrain from honking and shouting at cyclists.

Paul Schimek, Ph.D.

Bicycle Driver Training Instructor

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