Anyone who chooses to commute on New York roads must assume some responsibility for their actions and work to prevent accidents with others. State laws mandate that drivers follow specific operating laws and that they obey traffic signage and signals. They must obey posted speed and drive based on the conditions they experience. While most readers may immediately apply these requirements to vehicle drivers, they also apply to bicyclists and to some extent, pedestrians.
However, when accidents happen it is often the least protected parties, such as walkers and bike riders, who are hurt. Even when they take all possible precautions, bicyclists can suffer serious and deadly harm from negligent and reckless drivers. This post will discuss one specific type of bicycle accident – dooring – and a safe driving practice that can prevent it. No part of this post provides legal advice and all readers can discuss their bicycle accident claims with trusted local attorneys.
What is dooring?
Dooring is a form of accident that involves the opening of vehicle doors. When a driver parallel parks, their door will be on the street side of their parking spot. Drivers who open their doors without looking around for passing bicyclists can open them directly into bicyclists’ path, causing them to crash into the vehicle doors and suffer injuries in the process.
How can dooring be prevented?
Drivers can avoid dooring accidents simply by paying attention to their surroundings. A driver who checks for other vehicles and bikes in their vicinity can avoid dooring crashes by giving others time to pass. Drivers may also consider using the Dutch reach to prevent dooring, which requires a driver to use their right hand to open their door, which forces them to turn their body and look for oncoming bicyclists.
A dooring accident can be painful at best and deadly in its worst-case scenario. When dooring impacts the health of a bicyclist, that victim can explore their rights and options for seeking compensation. A personal injury attorney can work for their client to help them get back what they lost in their dooring collision.