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Who’s Liable When a Cyclist Gets “Doored”?

Who’s at Fault When a Cyclist Gets Doored?

Veteran cyclists know that riding in the city can be dangerous. There are tons of obstacles to watch out for, from road hazards, such as potholes and sewer grates, to negligent motorists. A vigilant cyclist can prevent most accidents before they occur, but there are certain dangers which can surprise riders at the very last second, giving them little if any time to react. “Dooring” is one of them.

Almost every person who has spent countless hours cycling in an urban setting has at least one story of almost or actually getting “doored” – colliding with a car door that suddenly opens into your path as you’re cruising along a line of parked vehicles. Usually, this scenario ends in pain and frustration, if not injury or worse. Dooring is no laughing matter – it can have serious consequences for the victim.

The Dangers of Dooring

There are two ways dooring can injure or even kill a cyclist: he or she may either strike the door or swerve into traffic to avoid it. This can result in the following injuries:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Spinal cord injury (SCI)
  • Bone fractures
  • Internal organ damage
  • Lacerations and bruises

Neither case produces desirable results, to say the least, although the former is preferable to the latter; most serious dooring-related injuries and fatalities happen when cyclists are hit by a motor vehicle while swerving to avoid the door.

So Who Is Liable?

California Vehicle Code 22517 states: “No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic.” Bicycles are considered part of “moving traffic.” Therefore, the door opener is usually liable in a dooring accident. Even if there is no motor vehicle traffic at the time and the cyclist has the opportunity to avoid the door, it is ultimately up to drivers and passengers to check their mirrors for oncoming cyclists before opening the door.

READ  The City Cyclist’s 10 Commandments

Hurt in a Dooring Accident? Contact Us Today!

At Wilshire Law Firm, we offer free consultations to those who have been injured in a bicycle accident. While speaking with one of our dedicated legal team members, you may discuss issues such as:

  • The specific details of your case
  • California bike laws
  • Legal procedures
  • Whether litigation is necessary
  • An estimate of your damages
  • Negotiations with the insurance company

To learn more about your rights and options for recovery, call us today at (800) 522-7274.

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