Discussions of the risks in traffic for cyclists often highlight unsafe driving habits. Those who drive after drinking or who use their phones at the wheel could cause crashes with cyclists who follow all California traffic safety laws.
There is a strong association between unsafe driving habits and increased cyclist crash risk. Drivers may fail to notice a cyclist at a busy intersection, for example, which could then lead to a preventable crash. Vehicles in motion are a source of risk for cyclists, but so are stopped or parked vehicles. Some of the worst cycling incidents can involve a fully-stopped vehicle close to a bicycle lane.
Dooring incidents can turn tragic
The occupants of a motor vehicle aren’t just a threat to cyclists when they drive in an unsafe manner or distract the person driving. They are also a threat when they enter and exit the vehicle. People may fail to check their surroundings when exiting a vehicle onto the street or entering a rideshare vehicle, for example. Those who open car doors into the street can sometimes cause injury to others by causing a boring incident. Recently, in Oakland, a four-year-old girl and her father both incurred injuries in a dooring incident. The young girl ended up succumbing to her injuries six days after the initial incident.
Drivers and anyone in their vehicles should pay close attention to traffic when opening doors specifically for the safety of cyclists, as cyclists often do not have the time or space to avoid a door opened into traffic. Those who get hurt because someone opened a car door into traffic and blocked a cyclist’s path may have grounds for an insurance claim or possibly a personal injury lawsuit to recover the cost generated.
Watching parked vehicles carefully can be as important as monitoring traffic when trying to bike safely in California.