Bicyclists face various dangers when sharing New York’s roads with other vehicles. One common situation is dooring. The act of “dooring” occurs when a car’s passenger or driver opens the door of a vehicle into the trajectory of a pedestrian or bicyclist but does not first inspect whether the path is clear. In this post we will explain what to do if you are in a bicycle dooring accident.
After you or someone you love is struck by a car door while bicycling, you should promptly obtain medical assistance. After this, you should contact an experienced bike injury lawyer who can make sure that your rights are protected.
The Types of Bicyle Dooring Accidents That Occur
Dooring occurs in countless scenarios. The most common type of door accident is when a bicyclist is either traveling in a bike lane or using the right side of a road with vehicles parked on spots between the curb and lane. A vehicle’s occupants then exit the vehicle and open the door in the cyclist’s path.
To avoid accidents, it is a good idea to remain vigilant when vehicles are parked and either ride on the bike lane’s left side or if no bike lane exists, then ride in a direction away from traffic and the reach of car doors.
Another common way that dooring occurs is not with a row of parked vehicles, but when a vehicle pulls to the curb to let a person out. Even skilled bicyclists can lower their guard when they do not spot a line of parked vehicles.
Another less common but hazardous situation exists when a bicyclist spots a dooring incident about to occur and then swerves to the left into the path of another vehicle.
How Common is a Bicycle Dooring Accident?
In many parts of the country, dooring accidents have become a common occurrence. One study found that dooring accidents represent 11% of all bicycling accidents. Many cities have also noticed an increase in the rate of dooring accidents over the last few years.
Injuries Commonly Caused by a Bicycle Dooring Accident
If a person riding a bike collides with a door and ends up in an accident, they can end up facing serious injuries. Dooring can lead to various injuries including:
- Broken bones. The door of a vehicle can strike a bicyclist with enough momentum to result in broken bones.
- Emotional distress. Bike crashes are an uncomfortable experience that can result in victims experiencing anxiety as well as insomnia and depression. If you incurred emotional distress due to an accident, you might have the opportunity to pursue compensation.
- Neck injuries. Bicyclists are sometimes thrown from their bikes after colliding with a car door. This sudden impact can result in substantial damage to the bicyclist’s neck and spinal cord.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Individuals who ride bikes often wear helmets for additional protection. Despite this protection, head injuries including traumatic brain injuries can result from dooring accidents. These injuries can last the rest of a person’s life.
Dooring Constitutes Negligence
Motorists in New York have a duty to avoid collisions with anyone else who is operating a vehicle powered by humans. If a motorist does not meet their duty of care by not looking out for other people on the road., then they can be held liable for damages that result from an accident.
Vehicle operators in New York must avoid opening a car door before it is safe to do so. People should also avoid leaving a door open and facing traffic that is for any period longer than necessary for people to get into or leave the vehicle
The occupant of a vehicle who opens a door without examining whether someone is approaching can be held responsible for injuries sustained by the bicyclist as well as resulting expenses.
You also must establish that the motorist violated their duty of care and that breaching this duty led to damages and injuries, which include various costs like medical bills, repair costs, and lost wages.
Damage for Accidents Involving Dooring
Many injuries associated with dooring accidents require a person to receive medical treatment and then spend a substantial amount of time off of work. During this time, bills can pile up, which is undesirable because money is not coming in. A person might also have long-term pain and discomfort from injuries and the accident. Compensation for various damages faced after a dooring accident includes:
- Lost wages
- Medical costs
- Physical discomfort
What You Can Do to Avoid Dooring Accidents While in a Car
Before opening the door of your vehicle, you should look behind you by using your mirrors and turning around. You also should make sure to open the door on your right with your right hand, which will require you to look back. You should then make sure to open your door once your surroundings are clear. After you exit the vehicle, you should make sure to close it as quickly as you possibly can. You should never fling your door open or leave it open.
How to Avoid a Bicycle Dooring Accident if You are on a Bike
You should ride outside of the door zone. If you are traveling in an unprotected bike lane, make sure to stay outside of the lane and never ride right next to parked vehicles. Other people biking should pass on the left of your bicycle. Remain focused on vehicles in the process of parking and the drivers in those vehicles.
How to Respond if You are Doored
If you are struck by a door or any other part of a vehicle, you should remember to follow some important pieces of advice, which include:
- Ask the driver to remain until law enforcement arrives. If the driver refuses to stay, get a description of both the vehicle and the driver.
- Contact emergency services and request that the police come to the scene.
- Get the contact information for any witnesses. Request that witnesses remain on the scene until law enforcement arrives.
- Take pictures of the driver’s license and insurance card. Take pictures of the rest of the accident scene, as well, if you are physically able to.
Contact an Experienced Long Island Car Accident Attorney
The bike injury lawyers at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe LLP can help you or your loved one fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact our law office today to schedule a free case evaluation.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information and may not be applicable in your jurisdiction.