The Unseen Hazard: Understanding Dooring Accidents

Dooring Accidents 

Dooring accident California with motor vehicles
If you are a cyclist, you probably know the dangers when a driver or passenger opens a car door in your path. Known as “dooring,” this type of incident can lead to severe injuries for bicycle riders who are unable to avoid the suddenly opened door. Unfortunately, many bike lanes are designed to be extremely close to parked cars.

Many vehicle occupants in California are unaware of the dangers of simply opening a door on a busy street. As May is National Bike Month, it is important for drivers and cyclists to understand their roles and responsibilities. If you were involved in a California bicycle accident, our bicycle lawyers can assist you in obtaining financial compensation in a personal injury claim. 


California’s Dooring Law 

California Vehicle Code Section 22517 makes it illegal to open a vehicle door when it is unsafe or interferes with the movement of traffic. It also prohibits a person from leaving a car door open to moving traffic longer than necessary to load or unload passengers. This statute places liability primarily on the person opening the door, as opposed to the cyclist. 

Cyclists are advised to avoid the “door zone,” which is the space that an open car door extends beyond the parked car. 


Serious Injuries in a Dooring Accident

Even when cyclists are traveling at low speeds, dooring accidents can lead to serious injuries. A dooring accident can also have a domino effect. A bicycle rider in a dooring accident may be thrown off their bike and onto the pavement. They may also swerve to avoid the car door, only to be hit by another vehicle traveling alongside them. 

Injuries can be severe and life-threatening. Some common injuries in dooring accidents include: 

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Internal injuries and organ damage
  • Soft-tissue injuries
  • Road rash
  • Neck injuries
  • Face, eye, and dental injuries 

These can be catastrophic injuries, requiring surgery, physical therapy, and long-term rehabilitation. Some injuries may be permanent. Wearing a properly fitted helmet can reduce the risk of suffering a serious head injury. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a dooring accident, seek medical attention and consider speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can help you recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.


What Is the Dutch Reach?

A simple and effective way to prevent dooring accidents is something called the “Dutch Reach.” It originated in the Netherlands and is a way to open a car door safely without hitting an oncoming cyclist or driver. 

Here’s how it works:

  • Reach: Use your hand farthest from the door to open it. 
  • Swivel: This action naturally makes you turn your body towards the door, helping you to look over your shoulder.
  • Look Back: Check your mirrors and blind spot for approaching cyclists or other traffic.
  • Open Slowly: Open the door slightly to ensure it’s safe to fully open.
  • Exit Facing Traffic: When you exit, you’re facing the oncoming traffic, which increases awareness. 


May Is National Bike Month 

Every May, the League of American Bicyclists celebrates National Bike Month. Established in 1880, it is the nation’s oldest bicycle advocacy organization. The League of American Bicyclists created National Bike Month in 1956 to encourage more people to ride bikes. Whether you ride for fun, fitness, or to work, cycling is a healthy form of transportation that people of all ages can enjoy.

Here are some important bicycle safety tips to keep in mind when you ride: 

  • Wear a bicycle safety helmet. If you’re under 18, it’s the law. 
  • Obey all traffic laws. This includes stop signs. 
  • Signal your intentions and be predictable.
  • Ride on the right side of the road and in the same direction as traffic.
  • Do not wear earbuds or headphones covering both ears.
  • If you ride at night, wear reflective clothing and use rear and front lights.
  • Plan on a safe route, avoiding congested roads or intersections. 


Talk to an Experienced Bicycle Accident Lawyer 

Dooring accidents occur because vehicle occupants fail to look.
No one expects to be in a collision with a motor vehicle while riding their bike. If you sustained injuries in a Southern California dooring accident, you may be able to recover financial compensation from the person who violated the law and opened the vehicle door. The Law Offices of Daniel Kim is L.A. ‘s premier personal injury law firm that has successfully recovered over $300 million in settlements for injured victims of vehicle, pedestrian, and bicycle accidents. 

When you speak to our Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyer, you will understand the legal options available to you and how an experienced lawyer can guide you through the recovery process. Lastly, you pay nothing upfront and you are not obliged to sign with our firm during a free consultation. Call us to schedule your free case evaluation today at (310) 295-1087 or by filling our quick online form here