One of the most horrible things that can happen to a bicyclist is to get "doored." Dooring accidents happen when a motorist or vehicle passenger opens a car door into the path of a bicyclist. The bicyclist could strike the edge of the door and suffer catastrophic and deadly injuries.
Dooring events usually happen when cars are stopped on the side of a road while a cyclist passes them. Bicyclists ride along the edge of the roadway in most cases, and this puts them in the zone where -- if a car door opens -- they could slam directly into it.
Dooring crashes tend to be the fault of the motorist or passenger who causes them, but just because an injured cyclist is in the "right" in these incidents is not a reason to celebrate. Everyone needs to do what they can to prevent something like this from happening.
How cyclists can avoid getting doored:
- Taxis are particularly dangerous because taxi passengers are more likely to not pay attention to what's happening around them.
- Look ahead for parked vehicles that could have people inside them.
- Check in the side mirror of parked cars to see if there's someone inside, and look for heads in the vehicles.
- Don't ride along the edge of a parked car. Cyclists have the right to ride their bikes in the middle of the road as long as they follow the rules of the road.
- Occupy some space in traffic if you need to provide a safe distance between yourself and a parked car.
How motorists and passengers can prevent dooring accidents:
- Before you get out of a parked car on the side of the road, open the door with your hand that's on the opposite side of the door, and turn your body to look behind.
- Open your car door gingerly and be absolutely certain that no one is in the way before opening it.
How members of the community can prevent dooring accidents:
- Communities may want to consider painting narrower bike lines and adding a buffer zone that's painted a bright color to remind cyclists to give cars more space.
- Families and friends should educate one another about dooring accidents to get themselves into using safer habits.
When a cyclist is injured in a tragic dooring incident, he or she might want to look into the facts surrounding the case a little deeper to determine whether sufficient grounds exist to pursue financial compensation in court.