Thursday, November 8


get doored verb. To collide with an unexpectedly opened car door while riding a bicycle.

I got doored on Tuesday night. There really is nothing much you can do about it unless you "claim the lane" as a matter of course. Spend enough time as a gutter bunny, and you'll cop one eventually. It is an extremely unpleasant experience.

I was riding west down 15th St between Mission and Valencia at about 7.30pm. Thankfully, I was not riding at my usual frantic, all-out pace. Rather, I was cruising steadily, happy to be out of work early and just two blocks away from meeting someone for dinner. But, before I had time to hit the brakes or even see the door open, I heard the simultaneous crunch of metal on metal and felt an explosion in my knee. I was thrown off my bike and out into the middle of the road. I looked back to see the offending door and, finally realizing what had happened, let out a furious yell and a torrent of profanity.

Luckily, there was no traffic immediately behind me or, given how I fell, I would have been run over. Instead, I just lay there in shock until the driver told me to move out of the road because a bus was coming. And indeed, when I looked up, a bus was headed my way. So I slugged my way to the sidewalk where a bunch of bystanders and the offending driver crowded around asking if I was alright and if they should call an ambulance. My right leg hurt a lot and I had door-edge shaped bruise and scrape down the knee (later I discovered scrapes on my other knee, wrist and elbow) but I could move and straighten my leg and it didn't hurt to put weight on it. Nothing was broken.

My door opening assailant and her passenger were extremely apologetic but I was still pretty annoyed. I had bike lights with brand new batteries that were flashing brightly. I got the driver's insurance details in case I needed medical attention later. But, in the United States, you have to be in a lot of pain before it is less of a pain than getting medical attention so I decided to limp away and try painkillers and ice. So far I've been ok. My knee still hurts but it doesn't seem to be injured too badly.

San Francisco is not a bike-friendly city (try riding down Market at 8.45am) and I feel like a casualty of bike-unfriendly planning (for example, there is a bike lane going east on 14th st but no bike lane on any nearby street traveling west so, on the way home, I must take bike-lane free 15th). One day (when we run out of cheap fossil fuels) they'll make cities friendly for bike commuters. In the meantime, we play roulette with car doors.

Monday, November 5

The City That Won't Sit Still

We had a 5.6 quake in the Bay Area recently. I heard a rumble, saw the leaves of my office plant start moving, then one of my co-workers yelled "Oh yeah! That's living in San Francisco!"

I moved to my doorway. I've since discovered that the better tactic is to get under a sturdy table. Still, if I'm at home I don't think it would be a good idea to take cover under this table.