Dooring: What Makes It Dangerous?
A dooring accident happens when a motorist opens a car door directly in the path of a bicyclist. This sudden obstacle makes a crash inevitable, often seriously injuring the cyclist. Dooring accidents can easily be avoided if drivers and passengers check for cyclists before opening their doors.
Common Dooring Accident Injuries
No matter how safely you ride your bike, it is difficult, if not impossible, to predict the actions of other people, including drivers and passengers in parked cars. Bicyclists do not have an enclosed vehicle for protection, which makes them vulnerable to serious injuries in a crash. It is not uncommon for dooring accidents to lead to long-term pain and disability for victims. The injuries frequently caused by dooring accidents include:
- Severe lacerations
- Fractured or dislocated bones
- Internal organ damage
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Internal bleeding
Why Are Dooring Accidents on the Rise?
A number of people who are committing to healthier and greener lifestyle choices are hitting the pedals, and the more people on the road, the greater the risk of a bicycle accident. Dooring collisions happen most frequently in urban areas where cars are parallel-parked along the side of the street. To keep a safe distance from parked cars, the cyclist may have to ride in the middle of the lane, blocking the flow of traffic. In some cases, cyclists who swerve to avoid car doors that open suddenly in their paths are involved in collisions with motor vehicles in traffic as a result.
How Can Vehicle Occupants Avoid Causing Dooring Accidents?
The “Dutch Reach” maneuver could help motorists avoid causing dooring accidents. With this prevention technique, both passengers and drivers are advised to open the car door with the far hand. The movement required to do this causes them to turn their heads, so they can check behind the vehicle before opening the door. This maneuver has been proven to contribute to cycling safety, as stated in a We Love Cycling article. The Dutch Reach also allows drivers and passengers to open the car door only a crack at first to allow for an unobstructed view of what is behind them.
Can Car Manufacturers Do Anything to Prevent Dooring?
Technology could help reduce dooring accidents in the future. Manufacturers may install radar similar to blind-spot monitors to alert drivers when a cyclist is approaching from behind. This type of early warning system could help prevent drivers and passengers from causing serious injuries to cyclists.
What Is the Law on Dooring in Colorado?
Dooring is prohibited under Colorado Revised Statutes Section 42-4-1207. The statute states, “No person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic; nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.”
Can Cyclists Sue for Dooring Accident Injuries?
Drivers have a duty to safely open car doors when exiting their vehicles. If you have been injured as a cyclist in a dooring accident, you are entitled to file a claim for compensation for your losses. To recover damages, you must prove: 1) the driver or passenger who opened the car door was negligent; 2) your injuries were caused by the dooring accident; and 3) you suffered damages as a result.
If you were injured in a dooring accident, do not hesitate to contact The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., to schedule a free consultation with our legal team. Our Colorado Springs car accident attorneys can advise you of your options under the law and advocate for full compensation from the driver who injured you. We have experience fighting for injured cyclists throughout Colorado Springs and are ready to stand up for you. Call The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., at (719) 475-2555 today.