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,
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.
Contact us at (888) 305-6372 or
fill out our online form to schedule a free initial consultation today.