Bicycle “Dooring” Accidents: What They Are And How To Avoid Them
When you parallel park your car on Seattle’s streets, do you look in your rearview mirror before stepping out of your vehicle? Do you check your blind spots before opening your door? While some people – especially those who regularly bike – know about the dangers of bicycle dooring accidents, many people do not know about this common form of traffic accident that happens hundreds of times a year across the country.
“Dooring” accidents take place when someone parked on the side of the road opens the driver’s side door without looking to see if a cyclist is coming. Bikers, who often ride to the far right of the street, don’t have time to stop and slam into the open door, often becoming ejected from their bike and landing on the pavement in front of them. In many cases, the person opening the door is also injured in the accident. While these accidents are a common form of cyclist accident, many cities and states don’t track this type of crash and don’t even know how many people are injured each year in such crashes.
What is the best way to prevent dooring accidents in Seattle? Traffic safety advocates stress that education is the biggest key for both cyclists and drivers. Drivers should always look behind them before swinging open their door after parking on the street and cyclists should be aware that suddenly opening doors is one of the most common causes of crashes. Both cyclists and drivers should be even more wary when on a street with bike lanes to the right of motorized vehicle lanes.
In many European countries, where biking is much more common, drivers are taught to open their car door with the opposite hand so that they naturally twist their body and look behind them for approaching bikes.
Have you or someone you loved been injured in a bike dooring accident in Washington State? Speak to a Seattle Bicycle Accident Attorney today to request a free, private meeting. Call 425-289-1990 or 1-800-636-3676