A bicyclist is pedaling along alone in the right lane of a city street. Suddenly, he is on the ground, screaming in pain from a twisted back and broken collarbone. There are no moving vehicles other than the bicyclist. What happened?
A motorist opened their door into traffic.
Most bicycle accidents involve a bike and a car. Often, drivers are at fault in accidents that involve right turns or failure to share a lane. “Dooring” is a term used to describe what occurs when a motorist opens their door into traffic without realizing that a bicyclist is present.
Although dooring does not involve a moving car, it can result in severe injuries or even death. According to a study conducted by the City of Chicago, dooring causes between 7% and 20% of all bicycle accidents.
According to the League of American Bicyclists, forty states have laws which specifically make it an offense to open a car door without verifying the absence of traffic. The presence of these laws gives the police a way of documenting that a motorist is at fault in a dooring-related accident. If a motorist causes an accident by opening a door into traffic, they may be financially liable for the harm caused. With the right lawyer, this can be treated in the same manner as if the motorist had caused an accident via a moving violation.
If you have been in a dooring accident or any type of bicycle accident, you probably have medical bills that must be paid and have experienced pain and suffering. If you need help recovering funds, please contact us.