Sometimes a cyclist is injured by someone opening a car door right into the path of the cyclist. This is called “dooring” and can cause serious bodily injury to the rider. The severity of the injuries is in part because the cyclist suffers a double impact, one with the door and the other with the pavement.
Types of Dooring
Dooring accidents happen in a few ways. The most common is when a cyclist is traveling in a bike lane or using the far right-hand side of a street with cars parked in parking spots between the lane and the curb. Then an occupant of the car exits the vehicle opening the door in the path of the cyclist.
Vigilance is the best defense against a dooring accident, and a wise rider is always looking to see circumstances that are ripe for dooring. For example, if there are parked cars along the edge of a bike path, then ride a few feet out from the door so that you can avoid it if it swings open.
Other times, dooring happens when a vehicle pulls up to the curb to let someone off or the driver gets out. Even experienced cyclists can let their guard down when they don’t see the line of parked cars.
Finally, in a less common but just as deadly scenario happens when a vigilant cyclist sees a dooring incident about to happen and then swerves to the left successfully avoiding the door but tragically into the path of a car or truck.
Injuries Caused by Dooring Accidents
Dooring accidents are especially dangerous because of the suddenness of the impact and the secondary impact with the ground. Some of the common injuries suffered by a cyclist in a dooring accident are:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Traumatic spinal cord injuries
- Multiple fractures requiring surgery
- Organ damage
- Nerve damage
Who’s Liable in a Dooring Accident?
Under Washington state law, the person who opened the door is responsible for the damages. The law requires that each person exercise due caution for those around them. This could be the driver of parked car or a passenger.
The driver’s auto insurance will pay for the damages, but if the passenger opened the door then the driver isn’t liable so the victim will have to seek compensation from him or her. If there is a homeowner’s policy, it may pay for some of the damages. If the driver and/or passenger is uninsured, then the cyclist may be able to use their own auto insurance policy if there is uninsured/underinsured coverage.
Contact a Spokane Bicycle Accident Lawyer.
If you’ve been injured while riding your bike in any of the cities in the valley or metro area, speak to a Spokane Bicycle Accident Lawyer from Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S., They have the knowledge and experience to help you make a claim against the state of Washington or any of its cities.