Explaining the Danger of “Door-ing”

Cycling in urban areas can be just as rewarding as breaking in a new trail — but there are some specific dangers of which to be cognizant. Being “doored” by a motorist is perhaps the most common one.

Let’s take a closer look at how these accidents occur — and the best things you can do to avoid them.

The Danger of Being Doored

Some motorists are oblivious to cyclists and may lack general situational awareness. These attributes are dangerous even when a car or truck is in park. If a driver opens the door without first checking for oncoming cyclists, a devastating collision between a cyclist and a heavy metal door may occur.

The physics of such crashes lend themselves to serious injuries. A cyclist may be traveling 15 or 20 miles per hour, see a door open directly in front of their path, and have no time to react. In such cases, the cyclist may be thrown from her bike over the door, violently landing in the street.

Alternatively, a cyclist may strike the door and not flip, but still suffer serious injury given the blunt force of impact. In either scenario, a cyclist may also find himself lying injured in a busy street, at further risk of being struck by passing vehicles.

Even if a cyclist is able to react quickly enough to avoid the door, swerving into traffic may cause even greater harm.

How Frequent Are Door-ing Accidents?

According to the League of American Bicyclists, door-ings comprise almost 20% of all serious cycling accidents.

To help address this problem, many jurisdictions have passed laws requiring motorists to look for cyclists before entering and exiting vehicles.

Additionally, safe cycling advocates have suggested a range of mitigations, including cars that have sensor-equipped alert systems that identify when a cyclist is near. Even more simply, these organizations also suggest that motorists use the hand that is further away from the door when opening it. This motion causes the neck to turn — and drivers or passengers to look in the direction of oncoming cyclists.

How Can a Lawyer Help?

Being doored can cause serious trauma to almost any part of the body. However, assuming cyclists were following all the normal safety rules, it’s possible to sue for damages under California law.

California Vehicle Code 22517 states:

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.

Working with an experienced attorney who specializes in bicycle accident litigation can help ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries.

Gary Brustin, California Bicycle Accident Attorney

California-based cycling accident Attorney Gary Brustin frequently lectures to cycling groups on bicycle safety. He also publishes bike-safety awareness articles in highly respected publications such as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Weekly. Mr. Brustin is a life-long active cyclist and he devotes his entire law practice to bike injury cases. He has personally handled more than 1,000 bicycle accident cases and has consulted on more than 5,000 others. Most importantly, he personally represents every client himself. In addition to his California cases, Mr. Brustin frequently handles cases in other states by associating with local counsel in those jurisdictions.

About 95% of Mr. Brustin’s cases are resolved – in the client’s favor – within 9 months of the cycling accident. In comparison, cases that go to trial often take three years or more.

Complimentary Consultation with Mr. Gary Brustin, California Bicycle Accident Attorney

Mr. Brustin offers a free telephone consultation to those who have been injured in a cycling accident. The consultation will help you understand more about the legal system as it relates to your case. You may discuss issues such as:

  • The case details
  • Bike laws
  • Case and legal procedure
  • Whether to settle out-of-court or go to trial
  • How the accident has affected your present and future earning potential
  • Whether your bike is insured

A common question is: “What will it cost to hire Mr. Brustin if he takes the case?” The answer is that Mr. Brustin receives a contingency fee or a percentage of the amount of money recovered “if and when the case is resolved in your favor.” That contingency fee ranges from 33.33% to 40%. There might also be some costs and expenses that are usually advanced by the attorney and deducted from the final settlement. Mr. Brustin will always have a full and candid discussion with you regarding fees and costs. You may schedule the free phone consultation with Mr. Brustin by calling the toll-free office number: 800.841.2453.

The Law Offices of Gary C. Brustin, APC

Give Mr. Brustin a call today at 800.841.2453.

He can also be reached by email at info@bicyclelawyer.com

Mr. Brustin’s main offices are located at:

2033 Gateway Place, Suite 600
San Jose, CA 95110

401 Wilshire Blvd, 12th Floor
Santa Monica, CA 90401

777 East Tahquitz Way, Suite 200
Palm Springs, CA 92262

One Park Plaza, Suite 600
Irvine, CA 92614

He represents cyclists throughout the state. He routinely handles cases in Palo Alto, Santa Monica, San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Mountain View, San Mateo, Fremont, Los Angeles County, Palm Springs, Orange County, and Riverside County. He also works with a network of qualified cycling attorneys throughout the country for clients who are seeking representation outside of California.