Across the country, the incidence of bicycle “dooring” accidents is rising. Dooring occurs when someone in a parked vehicle suddenly opens their door into the path of a passing bicyclist. Statistics indicate that dooring accidents account for over 10 percent of bicyclist-motorist collisions.
How Do I Avoid Bicycle Collisions?
Dooring accidents can launch bike riders into the air, possibly into traffic. Bicyclists might veer to avoid the door and get struck by a moving vehicle. They may incur fractures, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries … or death.
In towns and cities, cars parallel parked along streets, heavy traffic, and narrow roadways/lanes provide ripe conditions for dooring. Bicyclists are typically expected to ride as far to the right as possible, putting them within the “dooring zone.” In some municipalities, bicycle lanes have been constructed to improve bicyclist safety. However, many of them are situated within the dooring zone.
In all states, occupants of parked vehicles are required to exercise caution when opening a car door. Forty states have specific dooring laws, which generally place responsibility for a dooring accident on the parked vehicle’s occupants.
Bicyclists can take precautions to protect themselves:
- Take it slow in dooring zones; watch for taillights, brake lights, etc.; and make yourself as visible as possible.
- In most states, even when there is a bike lane, bicyclists are permitted to ride in a motor-vehicle lane when traffic permits, thus avoiding the dooring zone.
- Plan routes with safety in mind.
- Wear a bicycle helmet. Always.
- Avoid talking or texting on your cell phone.
If you are injured in a bicycle accident due to another person’s negligence, contact a bicycle accident attorney to protect your rights.
An Experienced Attorney Can Help After a Crash
Sometimes, even the safest drivers can find themselves involved in an accident due to the behavior of an aggressive driver. In those situations, the aggressive driver can be held responsible and made to pay for your medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
In Alaska, accident victims can rely on attorney Ben Crittenden to help. As a personal injury lawyer, Ben has worked hard to make sure his clients’ voices are heard and they are able to obtain the maximum amount of compensation. Every accident victim deserves the chance to recover as fully as possible, and Ben is here to help you meet that goal. If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in an accident because of an aggressive driver, take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page, or request a free copy of Ben’s book, A Guide to Car Accident Claims in Alaska, to learn more about your rights.