23 Mar BICYCLE DOORING ACCIDENTS
Posted By Gruenberg Kelly Della || 23-Mar-2017
Bike riding can often be dangerous, particularly for bikers on heavily traveled roads. “Dooring” is one of the many potential threats riders can encounter on a daily basis when on city streets. Dooring can happen when a biker is riding near parked cars, and a driver or passenger opens a vehicle’s door without checking to see whether or not a person or car is coming.
While a biker can crash headlong into a car door and be injured that way, most severe bicycle accident injuries and even wrongful deaths have been caused by a biker intending to avoid an opening car door or a vehicle entering into the bike lane without checking for oncoming traffic. The biker might swerve into a traffic lane, where he or she could be struck from behind by another vehicle.
Most cyclists can avoid dooring by riding outside the door zone. If you’re riding in an unprotected bike lane, stay toward the outside of the lane and never ride next to park cars. Other bikers can pass you on the left by checking for cars and then using the traffic lane to maneuver around you. On streets with sharrows, ride through the center of the arrows. Sharrows are placed outside of the door zone, so by keeping to the middle of the arrow, you should be safe from swinging car doors.
Another thing you can do as a biker is to pay attention to what you can see ahead of you. Keep an eye on the cars nearby. You can usually see if drivers are in the seat by spotting their reflections in the side mirror or viewing them through a back window. Likewise, if they have just pulled into a spot, people are likely to open their doors soon.
Drivers can help prevent dooring accidents as well. If you’re parked on the street, check behind you to see if there are any oncoming bikes before you open your door. You can also do what is called the “Dutch Reach.” Dutch drivers are required to open their car doors with their right hands during their driving tests to prove they are responsible. This may sound awkward, but the position forces you to turn and look behind you. The Dutch Reach allows drivers to see any bikers who may be in danger of their car door. The drivers can then wait and slowly open the door once it’s clear. It’s more responsible to open your door slowly rather than fling it open. Also, close the door behind you as soon as possible so you avoid blocking the biking lane.
According to New York vehicle and traffic laws, opening a car door into moving traffic is illegal. It is also illegal to get out of a vehicle in any way that interferes with the right of an approaching vehicle or bicycle. If you’ve been doored by a careless person, you can pursue justice in a court of law. Several bicyclists have successfully sued and recovered compensation for dooring accidents. Individuals who are doored often require medical treatment which could end up costing them thousands of dollars. Make sure you’re represented by an excellent Long Island personal injury attorney.
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