Hundreds of thousands of bicycle collisions happen every year in the state of California, resulting in more than a hundred annual fatalities. While many of these happen when both the motor vehicle and the bicycle are in motion, many happen when the vehicle is parked, and the key is out of the ignition.
A bicycle rider may be going past a row of parallel parked cars only to be sideswiped by someone opening their door to get out of the car. This is called a “dooring collision.”
Driver responsibility when parked
While injuries that a cyclist sustains from a dooring collision can be serious, they are usually not fatal. Someone is usually at fault, even if it was unintentional. Motor vehicles need to remember it’s their responsibility to watch out for bicycle and pedestrian traffic even when they are no longer moving, because they can be held liable for the accident.
It is important that they look to see what is coming before they open the door. An injury might come if the cyclist actually hits the door at either full or partially full speed, or if they lose control of their bike while trying to avoid hitting the car door. This may mean falling after braking too suddenly, or veering into moving traffic.
The Cyclist’s Responsibility
To some extent, as the cyclist, you should be aware that you are more vulnerable to injury while on a bike versus in a car. As you know, you still need to follow traffic laws and ride with traffic rather than against it. For example, just because a bicycle may “fit” going the wrong way on a one way does not mean they should travel this way. If you are hurt while in violation of traffic laws, you may find it more difficult to obtain compensation for your injuries.
If you’ve been hurt
If you’ve been hurt in a dooring collision, or any other type of motor vehicle/ bike accident, it is important to get medical attention and gather as much information about the incident as possible, including contact information of the driver and witnesses.
Don’t downplay your injuries. Saying you’re “fine” at the scene may work against you, if you wake up the next day with injury related soreness or if other symptoms manifest later on. Staying in touch with your doctor, as well as a personal injury attorney, after a dooring collision can help you keep track of the full extent of your injury and the potential impact it might have on your life.
Knowing this can go a long way toward getting you the compensation you need to move forward after the accident.