Who is Liable When a Cyclist gets “Doored”?

We’ve all seen the gifs, memes, and videos of someone riding their bike and minding their business when WHAM! a car door opens and sends the cyclist tumbling over the top. This event is often referred to as being “doored” or “car-dooring”. While it some might get a laugh out of this event, the cyclist can be seriously injured. If you have been doored and suffered an injury as a result, you are probably wondering who’s liable for your medical expenses and other damages.

Who’s At-Fault?

In this scenario, the driver is almost always at fault. Most states, including California, place the responsibility on the driver to make sure that it is safe to open their door before doing so. However, if there is no traffic at the time of the incident, the motorist can claim that there were time and space for the cyclist to swerve and avoid the door. If the motorist claims that the cyclist could have avoided the accident, the cyclist will not be found at-fault, but they may be found partially responsible.

According to bike accident data, you might be safer getting doored that avoiding the door altogether. The data shows that “80.04% of those cyclists who were doored were injured, while 90.40% of those in non-dooring crashes were injured.” That’s not all. Swerving to avoid the door is more likely to cause a severe injury than crashing into the door itself. This is because when cyclists swerve, they’re likely turning into oncoming traffic without checking for vehicles.

How do I Avoid Getting “Doored”?

One way to avoid getting doored is to ride cautiously and keep your head on a swivel. If you ride your bike through the city, you know that it can be chaotic. There are cars flying by you on one side and pedestrians walking and getting out of their cars on the other. It can be nerve-racking if you’re not used to it. Take it slow and pay attention to your surroundings.

Another way to avoid getting doored is to ride your bike outside of the door zone. What is the door zone you ask? Well, the door zone is best described as the area the from the car to the edge of the door when it is opened. This can be hard to avoid as major cities have added bike lanes to streets. Unfortunately, these bike lanes are in the door zone.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you have been in a bicycle accident and are injured as a result, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case.