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Communities struggle to prevent dooring accidents

On Behalf of | May 18, 2017 | Bicycle Accidents |

New York residents who enjoy riding their bikes may know what dooring is. This refers to bikes colliding with open car doors, and those who study the issue say that neither laws nor bike lanes seem to address the issue. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were 302 such incidents in Chicago in 2015, which was a 50 percent increase from the year before.

Although there is a lack of data, it is believed that these incidents occur most often in cities. In many cases, bicyclists can’t predict if a driver is going to open a car door even if they check in windows or look at taillights for signs that a door may open. In 2016, the state of Virginia passed a dooring law, and violators could be fined $50.

Having dooring laws is thought to be an effective way of highlighting the issue among the general public. However, only three states refer to pedestrians or bicyclists in their dooring law. Other states only refer to traffic, which means that a law could be open to interpretation when it comes to protecting bicyclists. In addition to laws, dedicated bike lanes to the right of parked vehicles may reduce the odds of a door opening into those lanes because most cars are only occupied by their drivers.

Those who are injured in bicycle accidents may wish to talk to an attorney. It may be possible to pursue compensation for the losses that resulted, but this may only be true if the person who caused the accident acted in a negligent manner. An attorney can advise an injured cyclist if a violation of a dooring statute would be considered negligence.