Dooring takes place when a driver or a passenger opens their car or truck door into a lane of moving traffic and a bicyclist or motorcyclist runs into the door. This is a common cause of injuries to cyclists. Motorcyclists may be riding further out into the road, but if they are hit by a car door, their injuries are likely to be even more serious than those to cyclist. Injuries are not only caused by the door. A cyclist may swerve to avoid a door and be hit by another vehicle. A motorcyclist may crash avoiding the obstacle.
Most U.S. states now have a dooring law. They include Virginia and Washington DC. North Carolina does not have a dooring law.
As a car driver, there are some things you can do to avoid falling foul of the dooring law. Drivers should:
Check behind their car before opening the door;
Check side mirrors because a bicyclist may be in your blind spot;
Open your door slowly when you are getting out of your car;
Remind passengers to check for bicyclists, motorcycle riders, and other cars before getting out of their cars.
Park off the street where possible in parking lots.
How Common Are Dooring Accidents
Dooring collisions are one of the most common types of cycling accident in urban areas. Data from the City of Chicago from 2010-2012 found dooring crashes made up between 7.3 and 19.7 percent of reported bicycle crashes.
The Boston Cyclist Safety Report of 2013 suggested dooring crashes made up between 7 and 13 percent of all bicycle collisions in the City of Boston between 2009 and 2012. A study in Australia found vehicle doors accounted for 17.6 percent of crashes involving bicyclists and drivers.
Cyclists can also help avoid dooring accidents. Aim to keep 3 to 5 feet between your bike or motorcycle and parked cars. Cyclists and bikers can drive defensively by looking at the traffic ahead and anticipating motorists getting out of cars. If you see a car has just stopped, chances are a door will be opening momentarily.
Find out more about accidents involving bicyclists here on our website. Please call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers if you are hurt in a dooring accident at (757) 455-0077.
John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.
Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.
Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.
Cooper Hurley awards three $2,000 college scholarships annually to high school seniors in the Tidewater and Eastern Shore areas of Virginia. Eligible students can submit an essay of 500 to 1,000 words on the subject of Distracted Driving. We established this program to aid worthy scholars and to raise awareness of the tragic consequences of distracted driving, which we encounter too often in our practice.