Cyclists are vulnerable to injuries, even when wearing the fullest amount of protective gear possible. Despite following the rules, using bike lanes and biking cautiously, they may still suffer because of the reckless or negligent actions of a motorist. Even small actions, such as a driver or passenger opening a car door after parking, can lead to serious, debilitating or fatal injuries for a cyclist.
Dooring accidents are events during which a cyclist collides with an open vehicle door, typically because the individual opening the door is unaware of his or her surroundings. The failure to look before opening a door, especially when parked next to a sidewalk or bike lane, could lead to a collision. Cyclists hurt in dooring accidents may be unsure of who is to blame for what happened to them or how they can seek recovery for their losses.
The dangers of dooring accidents
Opening a car door may not seem like a reckless action until a cyclist hits the open door at full speed, unable to come to a stop or slow down before impact. Drivers have the responsibility to safely share the road with bikes, and this includes responsible parking and awareness when exiting the vehicle. In an effort to reduce the number of dooring accidents, term “Dutch reach” is used.
The Dutch reach is when a driver opens the vehicle door with his or her right hand. By using the opposite hand to open the door, the body will naturally turn, allowing the driver to see if there is a cyclist coming up the sidewalk or lane beside the vehicle. It is recommended that passengers also use the Dutch reach in an effort to reduce accidents as well.
After a dooring accident
Even if the cyclist was moving at a low rate of speed, a dooring accident can result in serious injuries. Because the vehicle is not moving when a dooring accident happens, it can be difficult to determine who is to blame for what happened.
As an injured cyclist, you may benefit from an analysis of your dooring accident in order to identify your legal options. An irresponsible driver or passenger could be to blame for what happened, and you may have grounds to pursue compensation through a civil claim. These cases are time sensitive, and your quick action may have an impact on the outcome of your case.