“Dooring” Is a Type of Negligence That Can Lead To Serious Injuries and Death

If you are a cyclist, you probably know about the dangers posed by cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles while you are going for a ride. Any vehicle that is in motion can be dangerous to cyclists. However, they can be just as dangerous when the drivers are stopped and parked. It only takes a fraction of a second for a negligent driver or passenger to open their car door into your path of travel when you are bicycling, a practice called “dooring.”

The Dangers of Being Doored

In 2020, a cyclist in Brooklyn was bicycling around the city instead of using mass transit. He enjoyed his ride until, suddenly, he became seriously injured in a dooring accident. He was pedaling through a neighborhood when a person in a parked vehicle opened the door, and he ran into it. Soon after he collided with the door, an SUV behind him ran over him, fracturing six ribs and severing his spine. The dooring accident left him paralyzed, and he lost feeling below his waist.

Unfortunately, the drivers who caused the accident fled from the scene before authorities arrived. The victim had to undergo five surgeries after the accident, and doctors have told him he may never walk or feel his legs again. This is just one example of a dooring accident that causes life-altering, catastrophic injuries.

How Do Dooring Accidents Occur?

Bicycling in an urban area, such as Charlotte, can be just as rewarding as trail bicycling. City bicycling allows cyclists to commute to and from work while getting exercise. Unfortunately, dooring is just one of many city bicycling injuries that cause devastating injuries. A lack of situational awareness causes most dooring accidents. Anytime a driver opens the door, they should check for an oncoming cyclist. When the driver or passenger fails to look at oncoming traffic to see if there is a cyclist and opens the door, a cyclist can collide with the heavy metal door.

Serious Injuries That Dooring Can Cause

The force of the collision can cause serious injuries. In most cases, the cyclist may be traveling between 15 and 20 miles per hour. They may see a door open in front of them but not have enough time to react and avoid colliding with the door. In some cases, the cyclist can be thrown from the bicycle over the car door, landing violently in the street. In other cases, cyclists strike the door but do not flip over the door. They can still suffer serious injuries because of the blunt force of the collision. In either scenario, the cyclist will find him or herself lying injured on a busy road, putting them at further risk of being struck by passing vehicles.

Sometimes the secondary collision with another vehicle causes more injuries than the original dooring incident. Even when a cyclist sees the door open and can quickly react to avoid it, swerving into traffic can cause him or her to collide with another vehicle. Dooring accidents can result in serious injuries, such as:

  • Spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Contusions and abrasions
  • Bone fractures
  • Internal organ damage
  • Amputation
How Common Are Dooring Accidents?

Dooring accidents are far more common than many people realize. Dooring is the most common cause of bicycle-motor vehicle collisions in urban areas. A recent study conducted by the city of Cambridge in Massachusetts discovered that doorings accounted for one out of every five bicycle crashes involving motor vehicles and bicycles. Another study found that 16% of fatal bicycle collisions involve dooring. Driver and passenger negligence cause the majority of dooring accidents. If you have been injured in a dooring accident, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury accident against the negligent person or people who caused your injuries.

Reach Out to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we understand the risk cyclists face every time they venture out on the road. Even when cyclists are using caution, they can still be involved in an accident that is not their fault. We will review the facts of your case with you and help you understand your legal options. Our personal injury attorneys have a proven track record of successfully recovering compensation for our clients. If you or your loved one have been injured in a dooring accident, contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today to schedule your free consultation.

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