Every cyclist who rides in built-up areas knows the risk posed by parked cars. There are a number of reasons why a cyclist might be compelled to ride alongside parked cars: perhaps that is where the bike lane is, or if there is no bike lane, it might be the only place to ride without blocking automobile traffic and angering drivers.
Regardless, a cyclist riding alongside parked cars runs the risk of smacking into a car door that has been suddenly opened in their path. Cyclists refer to this as being doored by a car, and it can lead to serious injury or death. Data on dooring injuries (and, indeed, cycling injuries in general) can unfortunately be difficult to find, but a study done in Toronto found that about 12% of all collisions between bicycles and motor vehicles occurred as a result of a door being suddenly opened in the cyclist's path.
Here are 5 steps to follow if you've been doored by a car:
- Make a police report immediately, at the scene of the accident if possible.
- Photograph the scene with your cell phone or any other camera if possible. Enlist the help of a bystander if you do not have a camera with you.
- Identify any witnesses present at the scene and ask them to stay with you until the police arrive.
- Report your injury to your automobile insurance carrier if you have one. They will pay your medical bills, subject to a $250 deductible and applicable co-pays.
- Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you determine if you have a legal claim against the motorist who doored you.
If you've been injured in a cycling accident, it's important that you contact a personal injury lawyer who can help you determine whether you have a case against the other party and handle it if so. I have been handling bicycle and automobile accidents for almost 30 years and can help you get the compensation you deserve. Please contact me via email, by calling me at (908) 232-2040, or by visiting my firm's website.