Bicyclists Injured in Central California Valley Because of “Dooring”
Bicyclists face a variety of threats when they are cycling. Everything from wet, slick roads to gravel, road debris, and negligent drivers can cause a bicycle accident in a split second. Riders must remain alert at all times. However, even the most alert rider cannot avoid some accidents, especially those involving a motorist.
While we are constantly warned to be careful of drivers in moving vehicle, we do not hear about the dangers of parked vehicles quite as often. Unfortunately, parked or stopped vehicle pose a significant threat to riders, especially in urban areas.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, call 1-800-954-4444 for a free appointment with a Fresno bicycle accident attorney.
Dooring – Another Real Danger for Bicyclists
“Dooring” accidents are more common than you may believe. Dooring is a potentially deadly danger for bicyclists. It occurs when a driver or passenger in a vehicle suddenly opens the vehicle door in the path of a rider. The rider does not have time to stop or avoid the obstacle. When the rider collides with the open door, he is often thrown from the bicycle, possibly into oncoming traffic, resulting in traumatic and life-threatening injuries.
Common injuries sustained in a dooring accident include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Penetrating brain injuries
- Internal bleeding and damage to internal organs
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries that lead to partial or complete paralysis
- Severe road rash and burns
- Damage to the face, including broken jaws and loss of teeth
Riders who are injured in a dooring accident often suffer permanent disabilities that require ongoing medical care and personal care. The cost from one of these bicycle accidents can reach into the millions of dollars of a lifetime. It is important to contact an experienced Fresno bicycle accident attorney to pursue an accident claim against the party responsible for your injuries.
Who is Liable for a Dooring Accident?
California Vehicle Code §22517 states that no one should open the door to a vehicle that is facing the side of moving traffic except when the action can be performed in a “reasonably safe” manner. Furthermore, a person should not open a vehicle door unless the door can be opened without interfering with the movement of traffic. In addition, the code prohibits a person from leaving a vehicle door open that on the side of moving traffic for “a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.”
Because bicyclists have the same responsibilities and rights under the California Vehicle Code as motorists, the protections contained in this code section applies to bicyclists as well as everyone else using the road. Therefore, in some cases, a driver or passenger can be held liable if an open door causes a bicycle crash. However, liability in this type of bicycle crash can be difficult to determine and prove.
You must prove that the operator of the motor vehicle was negligent by opening the door at that time. Liability often revolves around determining whether the action was “reasonably safe.” Several factors that the court may consider is the time of day, traffic conditions, the location of the accident, how long the car door was open, and whether the driver or the bicyclist were distracted at the time of the collision. Another consideration might be whether the bicyclists was traveling in a bicycle lane if one was available.
Given that liability can be a significant issue in a dooring accident, it is best to contact an experienced Fresno bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible so he can begin working on your claim by investigating the facts, identifying potentially liable parties, and gathering evidence to prove fault.
Call Our Fresno Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Contact Torem & Associates by telephone at (888) 859-4434 or online by using the contact form on our website to schedule a free consultation.