A pilot project to reduce “dooring” that involved warning messages and large sharrows painted on a section of Wellington Street had been criticized for being “confusing” for motorists. Well, it’s almost three years later, and rather than confusing motorists, the pilot project seems to be having the desired effect of making it safer for cyclists on this stretch of Wellington Street.
For people who may be unfamiliar with the concept, “dooring” is what happens when a car door is suddenly opened in front of a cyclist. In many cases the cyclist cannot maneuver quickly enough to get around the door and the resulting collision can be very dangerous. At least one cyclist in Ottawa has died because of a dooring incident.
A few years ago there were 5 dooring incidents on Wellington between Parkdale and Holland. In response, the city initiated a pilot project in 2015 to encourage cyclists to stay more towards the middle of the road, and avoid the “dooring zone” in the area right next to the park cars. It involved painting large sharrows and “dooring zone” warning messages on the road surface on this part of Wellington.
A study of the pilot project’s results indicate that more cyclists are now avoiding the dooring zone by riding towards the middle of the road, and that more motorists are following behind cyclists instead of passing them. More importantly, there have been no dooring incidents on this part of Wellington since the pilot project began three years ago.
It’s interesting to note that painted text and sharrows were originally criticized as being confusing for motorists. It turns out that motorists are not so easily confused and that the pilot project may actually be helping to educate them about the dangers of dooring for cyclists.
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