Riding on city streets, or any streets that have cars parked on the side of the road, takes extra vigilance. If possible, avoid these streets if you can; even if it means riding a little further. Choose streets with bike lanes!
A car door can cause real havoc to a bicycle rider. There are some thing you should do to keep from getting “doored”:
1. Keep your eyes open! Stay alert, and look for motion inside parked cars. If you see there is someone in the car, give it a wide berth, at least 4 feet.
2. Ride with your hands on the brakes, not on the handlebars. It takes extra seconds to move your hands, and that time could be crucial.
3. Check the tail lights and backup lights on vehicles. If they’re on, you know someone is in the car, and may be about to fling the door open.
4. If there is a bike lane between parked cars and the traffic lane, ride more to the traffic lane side; if there is a lot of fast moving traffic though, use good judgement.
5. Use a bike mirror to keep tabs on what is coming up behind you; if nothing is there, you will be able swing out at the last moment safely if you need to.
IF YOU DO GET DOORED:
Take pictures of the scene, and try to get a statement from the vehicle operator along with their information. You were involved in a vehicle accident; they’re required by law to do that. Also details are necessary to keep your insurance company from declining a claim.