Life can be tricky for a cyclist. On one hand, you are forbidden from riding
on sidewalks, so you’re forced to ride in the middle of road traffic
that often does not afford you the same courtesy and space that they would
other motorists. However, you’re also forced to stick to the right
side of the road almost exclusively, which can carry an even greater set
of risks. Many bike lanes run parallel to cars parked on the side of the
road, which create another serious hazard: dooring accidents.
A dooring accident is when a car parked on the side of a road opens their
door and causes a passing cyclist to collide with it. Because a cyclist
often does not have time or space to swerve to avoid the door or stop
to avoid the collision, they often have no choice but to crash and risk injury.
Who is Liable?
Liability for dooring accidents can be a two-way street, but is usually
placed on the owner of the parked car who opened the door. Those in parked
cars are required to ensure that the space next to them is clear when
opening their door, including checking their “blind spot.”
If you can prove that the driver failed to check their surroundings before
opening their door, then you could be eligible to recover compensation.
Cyclists are not entirely absolved from responsibility in these accidents,
and share in the responsibility for their own safety. If a cyclist were
to dart out from between two cars suddenly, preventing a parked car from
seeing them before opening their door, then a cyclist could be held responsible
for their own injuries, since they acted recklessly.
Preventing Dooring Accidents
Avoiding a dooring accident is always the best decision for both cyclists
and motorists, and there are a few ways in which both can do so.
Never assume a parked car is safe. Do you see a driver in a parked vehicle? Assume they may open their door
at any moment without warning. Give them plenty of space.
Wear all safety equipment. Wearing a helmet should be a given, but also be sure to wear high-visibility,
reflective clothing and turn on all riding lights on both the front and
rear of your bike.
Pay attention. A distracted cyclist is not likely to stop or ride out of the “door
zone.” If you notice a cyclist with their phone in their hand while
riding, do not attempt to open your door until they have passed. The same
goes for cyclists: if you notice a motorist is distracted, stay well-clear
of their “door zone” in case they decide to swing their door
If you have been injured by a dooring accident,
Piscitello Law may be able to help you. We proudly represent clients as Philadelphia
bike accident attorneys who are avid riders ourselves. We understand the
dangerous hazards that are associated with riding in a busy urban environment
like Philadelphia, and we use this experience to fight for the rights
of our clients with an aggressive and professional style of litigation
and representation. Let us help you obtain the compensation you are entitled
to if you are a cyclist who has been injured.
Ask to receive a free initial consultation today! Call Piscitello Law at