Cyclist dooring accidents are a common problem on the roads, and can result in significant injuries. In fact, according to Cycling UK, over 500 people across England, Wales, and Scotland are injured every year as a result of car doors being opened into their path.
Shockingly, 35% of drivers admit to not looking for approaching cyclists or other road users before opening their car door. And, it is likely that there are many more dooring accidents that go unreported. With this in mind, it’s important to understand what dooring accidents are, how drivers could take steps to prevent them, and who may be held liable for injuries sustained in these types of accidents.
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What is a Dooring Accident?Dooring accidents essentially refer to when somebody opens a vehicle door into the path of a cyclist. Although the term is ambiguous, it is illegal to open a car door into the path of any road user under the UK Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Road Vehicles (Constructions and Use) Regulations 1986, as it can cause a severe injury.
Cyclists are more likely to be injured in a dooring accident, especially if the car door opens unexpectedly and the cyclist has no time to brake or avoid it. However, in terms of liability for these types of cycling accidents, both drivers and cyclists can be held responsible depending on the circumstances of each unique case. Drivers may be liable if they open their doors without checking for approaching traffic, while cyclists may be found negligent if they fail to exercise caution around parked vehicles.
What are the consequences of Dooring Accidents?One of the most serious consequences of dooring accidents is physical injury to cyclists. Depending on the speed at which they were travelling and the force with which they collided with a car door, these cycling injuries can range from minor cuts and scrapes to more severe fractures, lacerations, or even head trauma. In extreme cases where victims are thrown off their bikes due to impact, there is also a risk of life-changing injury as they may be hit by other vehicles or collide against hard surfaces such as street curbs.
In addition to physical injuries, dooring accidents can also cause significant property damage. This includes damage done directly to the bike itself as well as any nearby cars that may have been affected by flying debris or splintered pieces of metal caused by impact. Furthermore, if cyclists fail to stop in time before colliding into an open vehicle door, then it could result in costly repairs for both vehicles involved in the incident.
Who is Liable for Dooring Accidents?When it comes to assessing liability for dooring accidents, both drivers and cyclists can be injuries found liable. If a driver opened their door without checking for approaching traffic, then this could be considered negligent behaviour and therefore make them liable for any damages caused by the accident. On the other hand, cyclists may also be held responsible if they fail to exercise caution when travelling around parked vehicles or do not take appropriate steps to avoid a potential collision with an opening door.
If you’re a cyclist who’s been involved in a dooring incident and experienced physical injuries, then you may be entitled to make a cycling accident claim for compensation. The amount you will receive may depend on the severity of your injury, and you may also receive compensation for loss of earnings during your recovery, associated medical costs, and bike repair or replacement. Take a look at our cycling claim injury calculator for a compensation estimate.
To find out more about making a cycling injury claim after a dooring accident, contact our expert Cycle SOS team 24/7 on freephone 0808 100 9995 or request a free callback.
How to Avoid Dooring AccidentsWhen it comes to avoiding dooring accidents, one of the most important steps that drivers can take is to always look ahead, behind, and to the sides before opening their car doors. Drivers should remember to use The Dutch Reach technique (reaching across to open the door with the furthest hand) which encourages you to turn your body towards the window and spot approaching cyclists.
Drivers should be cautious even if they are parked in a seemingly safe spot, as cyclists may still be approaching from other directions or angles. Once checked, the driver or passenger will then have enough time to safely open the car door without endangering other road users.
Another key step towards reducing the risk of dooring accidents is for cyclists to use a seperate bike lane where possible and wear reflective clothing when riding at night or during poor visibility. By wearing reflective colours, cyclists are much more visible to drivers who can adjust accordingly while parking or exiting their vehicles. Additionally, cyclists should also use bike lights whenever possible as these will drastically increase the chances of being noticed by others on the road even before they come into view.
We also advise drivers and cyclists to exercise caution around parked cars in general, given how dangerous dooring incidents can be. Cyclists should try not to ride too close alongside parked vehicles since unexpected openings can cause collisions, and drivers should pay extra attention when opening vehicle doors onto public roads.
For more information about our services or to start your claim, call 0808 100 9995 and speak to one of our specialist solicitors. We’re here 24/7 to help. You can email us or schedule a callback.