We've all been on a ride and had a close call with a car or truck going past at a high speed. It usually results in a feeling of anger followed by relief that you have not been hit by the vehicle.
In Wisconsin, the law requires vehicles to give a minimum of three feet of space when passing a bicyclist.
Unlike California which has a specific statute to address the opening of doors, Wisconsin lacks such a Statute. However, Madison is attempting to create an ordiance that fines drivers for opening their doors unsafely. The following is what Rush Limbaugh had to say about the proposed statute:
"Frankly, if the door opens into a bicycle rider I won't care. I think they ought to be off the streets and on the sidewalk. Don't misunderstand here, you bike riders, do not misunderstand this, but I mean if you're going to get in the street, get over there, get over as far right in the lane as you can. You ought to see Saturday morning where I live. It looks like a swarm of mosquitoes. It causes you to take an alternate route. And so now poor bike riders, some old codger opens the car door, bam! The bike rider does a head flip over the door. I haven't seen that. Now they want to fine you for not only opening the door, you don't close it soon enough, you get a $50 fine in Madison, Wisconsin. (laughing)"
What a ridiculous comment to make. Since he is severely out of shape and too lazy to exercise and only concerned with himself, he does not care that people are getting hurt by the actions of drivers. His main reason for not caring about injured bicyclists is because they inconvience him as a driver. ("It causes you to take an alternate route").
Unfortunately this type of attitude is common amongst drivers. Limbaugh's comment helps show why drivers need to be fined for this type of behavior. Unless they are punished, they will continue to bully bikers because they are in a heavy vehicle and do not have to worry about injury.
The California Statute: "No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic, 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." CVC 22517.