California cyclists face a wide variety of hazards in their rides. Uneven roads can make it difficult to control your bicycle. Drivers may not leave appropriate space between your bike and their car. Inclement weather or nighttime conditions can impact visibility. However, cyclists should also be aware of the danger of parked vehicles.
When a bicyclist collides with an opened vehicle door or swerves to avoid a suddenly opening door, they can be in danger of serious injuries. These “dooring” accidents account for between 10% and 20% of bicycle accidents. They can even occur when cyclists ride in a clearly marked bike lane.
What injuries can result from dooring?
Doorings can result in a wide variety of injuries for cyclists. In the best cases, swerving to avoid the door could result in only minor injures. However, striking an open door or being hit by a vehicle while trying to avoid a door can cause much more severe damage. These injuries can include:
- Concussions and traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord damage
In the most serious accidents, dooring can be fatal.
California’s vehicle code offers cyclists some protection.
Injured cyclists in California can take legal action after these all-too-common accidents. California law prohibits opening vehicle doors on the driver’s side without ensuring that it is safe to open the door. The law also prohibits drivers from leaving their driver’s side door open for longer than necessary.
By holding drivers responsible after a dooring, injured riders can get the financial support they need to recover and possibly prevent future doorings.