Florida. Drivers don’t need to be operating a motor vehicle to cause serious injuries to bicyclists on the road. In fact, just opening a car door without looking out for bicyclists can lead to rider injury and even death.
As more bikers ride on densely-trafficked city streets, bike awareness becomes key to reducing the number of bikers who are injured and killed every year on the road. According to WUFT, the Centers for Disease Control found that between the years of 2008 and 2012, Florida had the highest number of bicycle deaths in the nation. While city planners are trying to find ways to keep bikers safe, at the end of the day, both biker and driver behavior plays a big role in preventing accidents.
For instance, bikers can be seriously injured by a driver opening a car door without looking. In big cities “dooring” accidents are unfortunately quite common. In Chicago, one biker was doored every day of the year in 2011. According to Reader’s Digest, drivers can protect bikers and avoid these kinds of collisions by using the “Dutch Reach,” method when opening their door. Individuals sitting on the driver’s side, should use their right hand to open the door instead of their left. This will cause them to pivot their body, increasing their line of sight, making it more likely they’ll see a biker on the road. In the Netherlands, drivers are taught to open the door using this method. If you haven’t been taught, it can take some time to get in the habit, but it can keep bikers safe and prevent costly and deadly accidents.
If a biker is “doored,” who is to blame? “Dooring” typically happens when drivers have to parallel park on the side of the road and they are parking in an area dense with bike users. Generally, bikers are required to follow the rules of the road, and in many cases, they are required to ride on the side of the road, putting them close to parked cars. Both drivers, pedestrians, and bikers have a responsibility for their own safety. But in the case of a driver opening a car door without looking, the driver would most likely be held liable for the accident. This could mean having to foot costly medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.
How common is “dooring?” According to a New York City study, 7 out of 18 of the non-traffic related deaths in New York City occurred due to “dooring.” In some cases, bikers were injured or killed when they swerved onto oncoming traffic to avoid “dooring.”
Dooring injuries can be serious for victims and their loved ones. Andress | Inzina, LLC are car accident lawyers who help victims seek recoveries for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The good news is that victims have many protections under the law when it comes to bike, pedestrian, and car accident injuries.
Learn more by visiting us at www.andressinzinainjurylaw.com.