Cycling Toddler, Dad Sent to Hospital After Getting "Doored" by Driver

The driver was cited by police after the incident on Masonic on Wednesday. A local alternative transportation advocacy group says it's working to improve safety in the area.

A 49-year-old driver from Los Angeles received a ticket last week in Albany after sending a cyclist and his son to the hospital; authorities said Monday that he struck the pair with his car door.

Wednesday, just before 9 a.m., a cyclist with an attached child trailer was traveling south on Masonic Avenue, at Solano Avenue, when the driver of a Prius, who was parked along the right-hand curb, opened his door into them, said Lt. John Geissberger of the .

The door struck the bicycle trailer, sending the cyclist off the bike, said Geissberger. A 3-year-old boy in the trailer suffered a laceration to the face from the impact. The cyclist suffered minor abrasions, and both were transported by ambulance to the hospital.

The Prius driver was cited in connection with section 22517 of the Vehicle Code, said Geissberger. The code dictates that drivers shall not open their doors unless it is safe to do so, and it "can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic." The code continues, "nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers."

Lesly Flynn Ibser commented Monday on Facebook that it was her child and husband who were in the accident.

"They were on Masonic instead of the BART tracks . My son was taken by ambulance to Children's Hospital where he ended up having plastic surgery on his face. My husband is still suffering from a concussion."

(The BART path is ; read more on Albany Patch .)

Amy Smolens, of the , responded online to Ibser that the cycling and pedestrian advocacy group "is working on solving the problem on Masonic ASAP so accidents like this don't happen again. We realize that cyclists who usually ride the are now using Masonic, and will be for the next year or so."

She continued: "We are working with the City to create awareness by motorists that more cyclists than usual will be sharing Masonic, and to ensure safer conditions for cyclists. 

"Also, one of our members has designed clings for cars asking motorists to 'Check for Bikes.' We will be unveiling them soon, and they will create greater awareness of cyclists by motorists and thus, safer cycling."

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Everybody makes mistakes ... ! If there's something in this article you think should be corrected, or if something else is amiss, call editor Emilie Raguso at 510-459-8325 or email her at emilier@patch.com.

Linda Rugg November 06, 2011 at 05:22 AM
I also cycle frequently along Masonic, and I have found the fenced-in area to be dangerous to use: the pavement is uneven, so that taking the proper side of the lane with anyone oncoming forces me into unsafe pavement. I now avoid the fenced-in area. I do have to say that when I "take the lane" on the street, which is a legal way to avoid getting doored, some motorists choose to honk or crowd me. It seems that not everyone understands that cyclists are not only allowed but advised to take the lane where the danger of getting hit by a door exists.
Chris Robyn November 06, 2011 at 07:38 AM
I don't ride in the fenced-in area anymore. I tried it a few times. It's too narrow, the surface is uneven, and the recent rain is bringing up oil from cars that used to park there. Use caution.
Amy Smolens November 07, 2011 at 01:31 AM
At this past Thursday's Traffic & Safety Commission meeting, City Staff said that they were going to install Sharrows. Those will help riders like Linda, Chris, John, Mark, Ben and others "take the lane" when necessary and let motorists know that cyclists may be doing so. I asked for "Share The Road" signage in conjunction with the Sharrows and Aleida Andrino-Chavez agreed that those signs are also necessary for safety. Feel free to contact the City and request that they implement these safety measures sooner rather than later so they will know that many people need them.
Emilie Raguso November 07, 2011 at 02:11 AM
Thank you for the update, Amy! What's the best way for folks to reach the city?
Amy Smolens November 07, 2011 at 03:29 AM
I would suggest emailing Albany's Transportation Planner, Aleida Andrino-Chavez, at achavez@albanyca.org .


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