Micah, a frequent commenter on this blog, was doored yesterday in front of the Supreme Court building. He went to the hospital and checked out OK. He's bruised and in some pain, but he's fine. But here's his story as he relayed it to me.
He was riding on north on 1st NE from East Capitol when he approached the Maryland intersection. The light was red and there were two cars in each lane. There was plenty of space for him on the right hand side of the right lane so he started to filter up. At that moment a woman in a taxi opened her door and he hit it. He flew over his handlebars and landed on his head and elbow. Miraculously, his helmet didn't even crack.
His bike went over the door as well.
Luckily there were five Capitol Police officers right there. They called for an ambulance, locked up his bike for him and even prevented the taxi cab driver from leaving (after he got out to see what had happened). Micah was sure he'd broken something in his elbow, but it was just a bad bruise.
Capitol Police showed up at the hospital and wrote him a ticket for passing on the right. The taxi driver got a ticket for failing to pull over to discharge passengers. If you witnessed any of this let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll let him know. The police told him they have it on video, so a witness may not be too critical. Micah also said that, other than the ticket, they were great and really nice to him.
The Capitol Police are probably not up on biking laws in DC but passing on the right is not illegal
1201.3 (b) A person operating a bicycle may overtake and pass other vehicles on the left or right side, staying in the same lane as the overtaken vehicle, or changing to a different lane, or riding off the roadway, as necessary to pass with safety.
I couldn't find the law on where a taxi must be in order to discharge passengers.
But for the woman who opened the door, this is pertinent
2214.4 No person shall open a door of a vehicle on the side where traffic is approaching unless it can be done without interfering with moving traffic or pedestrians and with safety to himself or herself and passengers.
Anyway he plans to fight the ticket. He should also, IMO, pursue the taxi-driver's (or passengers?) insurance to pay for his medical expenses, lost work time, damage to bike, pain and suffering etc..Hopefully he'll be better in time to bike to work on Friday. If he rides tonight, he can wear a special armband.
Update: Micah informs me that there was about 5 feet of space between the curb and the taxi. The taxi was closer to the lane lines than the curb. He hit the edge of the door with his left handle - not a square-on hit -, so he was only slightly less than a door length away.