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What is dooring and how can it be prevented?

On Behalf of | May 1, 2024 | Car Accidents |

Bicyclists deserve to be safe as they ride around, but their safety cannot be guaranteed when motorists and vehicle occupants engage in poor decision-making. When vehicle operators and occupants are exiting cars and trucks parked near bicycle lanes, they are at risk of dooring the bicyclists that are using the lanes that are meant to protect them.

Dooring occurs when a person in a vehicle opens their door and strikes a bicyclist as they open the door. This can throw the bicyclist off the bike, which can cause significant injuries. The bicyclist can end up with bruises or broken bones where they’re struck. They may also suffer injuries as they hit the ground.

Dooring can also involve someone in a vehicle opening the door in a bicyclist’s path. This can cause the bicyclist to slam into the door, which can lead to injuries. The bicyclist may also try to swerve to miss the door, which could result in them driving into the path of oncoming traffic or otherwise losing control of their bicycle.

Preventing dooring

It’s up to vehicle occupants to help keep bicyclists safe from dooring. One of the most effective ways of doing this is known as the Dutch reach. This is a technique that anyone who’s in a vehicle can do. It involves using the hand that’s farthest away from the door to open it. When this happens, the person’s body twists a bit so they can see behind the vehicle.

Because bicyclists have a small profile, it’s easy to overlook them. Vehicle occupants have to take the time to look all around the vehicle so they can see if there are any bicyclists coming toward the car.

Injured bicyclists may need considerable medical care to address the injuries they’re dealing with. This can be very costly, so they may choose to seek compensation from those at fault for their harm. Working with a legal representative may help them put together their case so it can be filed within the statute of limitations and pursued to maximum effect.