Cycling in the busy city can be very dangerous. Cyclists run the risk of being hit by cars, crashing into pedestrians, or being “doored.” Below, our Bay Area bicycle accident attorneys explain dooring accidents, California dooring laws and legal options after a bike accident.
What Is a Dooring Accident?
When a cyclist is “doored,” this means that a motorist or passenger opened a car door into the cyclist. Generally, a cyclist will collide with the open car door while riding down a line of parked cars. Cyclists may also swerve to avoid car doors, which can cause them to be struck by other vehicles.
A dooring accident can cause serious injuries, ranging from broken bones to traumatic brain injuries depending on the severity of the accident.
California Dooring Laws
In California, it is against the law for a motorist or passenger to open a door into moving traffic. Under California Vehicle Code 22517, a person cannot open a vehicle door on the side of moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and does not interfere with traffic.
Who Is Responsible in a Dooring Accident? The Driver or the Cyclist?
Cyclists are usually required under the law to ride in bike lanes or to the right of traffic. This means that cyclists are going to be riding very close to parked cars.
Before opening a car door, motorists and passengers must check to make sure that they are not opening it to oncoming traffic, including oncoming cyclists. In most cases, the person who opened the door is liable if he or she doors a cyclist.
When a cyclist files a personal injury claim against the driver or passenger, the cyclist must show that the driver or passenger failed to act in a careful manner before opening the door. The cyclist must then prove that the driver or passenger’s conduct led to damages.
Is the Cyclist at Fault for a Dooring Accident in California?
The person who opened the door into a cyclist may argue that the cyclist should have avoided the door. This is known as comparative fault, or putting a percentage of the accident fault onto the victim. This would reduce the amount of damages the cyclist could recover. However, the argument does not hold much strength unless the cyclist had plenty of time and space to stop and unreasonably failed to do so.
How Much Is Awarded in a Dooring Accident?
If the cyclist has a viable claim to recover compensation in a dooring accident, he or she may be eligible to recover damages for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages and future earning potential
- Pain and suffering
Contact Our San Jose Bicycle Accident Attorneys
If you have sustained injuries in a dooring accident, speak with our San Jose bike accident attorneys. We may be able to help you recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Our attorneys have extensive experience helping Californians recover after cycling and personal injury accidents. Call us today at (408) 956-6949 or schedule a free consultation through our online contact form.