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Why “dooring” is a serious danger for bicyclists

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2024 | Bicycle Accidents

If you’re an avid bicyclist in Southern California, you know that it’s not just moving vehicles that can cause serious injuries or worse. You also have to watch out for drivers and passengers opening the door to a parked or stopped car and hitting you as you approach. This is called “dooring.”

California law addresses the issue of dooring. It states that motorists should not open a door towards a street “unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of…traffic.”

Unfortunately, most people aren’t even aware of that law and open their doors without thinking – especially if they’re not on a busy street. There may be little traffic on a residential street, for example. However, a bicyclist riding by could be very seriously hurt if they slam into a car door that suddenly opens.

Why most people don’t face criminal consequences

Motorists who “door” a cyclist generally don’t face criminal consequences unless it can be shown that they intentionally did so. That’s rarely the case. Bike safety advocates say that it’s usually that people are “just not conscious” of the potential for injuring a cyclist.

We don’t know how often dooring occurs since, fortunately, most injuries aren’t serious. However, if someone goes flying off their bike and strikes their head on the pavement or a car or is thrown into traffic, the results can be fatal.

That’s what happened to one man in the Los Angeles area last fall. After hitting an open door while cycling, he was then run over by a vehicle. His widow has made it her mission to help educate people throughout the state about the dangers of opening a vehicle without looking around first.

If you’ve suffered injuries in a dooring incident, you may be able to seek compensation from the driver or other person responsible for your injuries. This can help you cover medical bills and other expenses or damages. It’s worthwhile to learn more about your rights.