Not only do uneven roads and fellow riders pose a risk to cyclists, but inattentive motorists in stationary vehicles can become dangerous when exiting their automobiles. The act of “dooring” is when a vehicle occupant hits a cyclist while opening a door.
Bike riders should know the damage a dooring incident can cause, ways to avoid the danger and what to do when dooring accidents occur.
Repercussions of dooring
A cyclist rapidly approaching an opening door encounters a difficult decision. The rider may maneuver to avoid the obstacle and end up in traffic. A collision with another rider, vehicle or pedestrian can be traumatic or deadly. The crash may result in broken bones, whiplash or another injury.
Possibly even more dangerous is when a door strikes a cyclist from the side. Without the ability to react to the hazard, a rider is at the complete mercy of surrounding threats.
Fights over insurance claims
An injured cyclist can make a claim with the vehicle owner’s insurance company. However, the firm assesses liability and may assign the bike rider a percentage of the fault of the dooring. An incomplete or inaccurate police report can also make a claim harder to prove.
Since an insurer aims to pay out as little as possible, the company may minimize the extent of the rider’s injuries. An injured cyclist may have to go to trial to establish the facts and receive appropriate compensation.
Dooring remains a genuine threat to cyclists, which is why the Louisiana legislature requires that people open vehicle doors on highways only after ensuring the act does not endanger or interfere with the movement of another person or vehicle. Cyclists must ride carefully when approaching parked cars to lessen the risk of an unfortunate dooring accident.