A door accident occurs when a car door, on the driver’s or passenger side, opens abruptly and obstructs the path of a cyclist. Dooring can result in tremendous and catastrophic injury to a cyclist, even if that cyclist was not traveling fast at the time of the accident. With a bit of care on the part of both cyclists and motorists however, the risk of these terrible accidents can be minimized.
What Drivers Can Do
There are several proactive steps that drivers can take to minimize the risk of a dooring accident. The single biggest step a driver can take is simply to have situational awareness. Use your mirrors and look carefully before opening the door. Check your blind spots as well. If you see a cyclist, simply wait until they have passed before opening the door. Additionally, some drivers make use of the so-called “dutch reach” where they open the door with their right hand rather than their left. The use of the dominant hand (in most cases) makes it easier to snap the door shut again should an oncoming cyclist appear before there’s an accident. Further, drivers and passengers should always shut their doors as soon as they exit the vehicle.
What Cyclists Can Do
Cyclists can also benefit from taking a few proactive steps to prevent dooring accidents. Basic situational awareness can help. Pay attention to cars and reduce your speed when passing a parked vehicle. Remaining outside of the 4-foot range of a vehicle’s door when passing can also reduce the risk of an accident, as can traveling along the outer edges of the bike lane.
What To Do If It Happens
If a bike dooring accident happens, call 911 and seek medical attention for the cyclist right away, even if they feel fine as concussions or other serious head injuries can take some time to onset. If you are the driver, you must remain at the scene of the accident until first responders arrive. As the driver, you may also be asked by the injured party for your license and insurance information.
Both parties have a responsibility to act reasonably while on the road, but accidents can still happen. If you have been injured in a bicycle dooring accident, Simon Law can help you determine whether negligence played a role in your injury and assist you in getting compensation from the negligent party, or their insurance company. Contact us today for a free consultation.