What You Should Know about Dooring Accidents
Dooring is a type of bicycle accident that happens when a motorist swings open their vehicle’s door directly in the path of an oncoming cyclist. In these situations, the cyclist often does not have enough time to stop and ends up crashing into the door. These accidents can be severe, and cyclists have the right to hold the at-fault party accountable.
Georgia Laws on Dooring
According to GA Code § 40-6-243, dooring is illegal. This section of the code states that “no person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic.”
Additionally, people cannot “leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.”
Who is Liable for a Dooring Accident?
When a driver or passenger violates Georgia’s dooring law resulting in harm to a cyclist, it can be used as evidence of negligence to hold them liable. Since Georgia is an at-fault state when it comes to auto insurance claims, the party who causes a collision is responsible for damages. Therefore, a cyclist injured in a dooring accident can file an insurance claim with the driver’s insurance company to recover compensation for medical bills, lost income while healing, pain and suffering, and more. However, a driver or passenger may try to shift the blame on the cyclist, for example, by saying they were not paying attention or were riding too close. Under Georgia’s comparative negligence law, each party will be assigned a percentage of fault. As long as a cyclist can prove they are less than 50% to blame, they can recover compensation.
Common Dooring Accident Injuries
Dooring accidents are not typically fatal, but bicyclists can still suffer severe and life-changing injuries. Injury claims are commonly filed for:
- Bone fractures
- Abrasions (“road rash”)
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Head and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Wrongful death in rare cases
Every one of these injuries and others can cause extensive medical bills, considerable lost income, and possibly require long-term care.
How to Prevent Dooring Accidents
There are precautions both cyclists and drivers or passengers can take to decrease the chances of a dooring accident:
- Ride in the designated bike lane when available.
- Ride at least three feet away from the sides of parked vehicles.
- Ride slowly past parked cars.
- Pay attention to anticipate when people may be about to exit their vehicles.
- Wear bright clothing.
Drivers and passengers can:
- Always look for approaching cyclists before opening a door.
- Open doors slowly to give you more time to see an oncoming cyclist.
- Practice opening your door with the hand farthest from the door so that you must turn your body and may automatically notice oncoming traffic.
However, some dooring accidents are not preventable. If you are a bicyclist who has been injured, contact an Atlanta Bicycle Lawyer as soon as possible to recover the compensation you deserve.