Police are investigating a dooring accident that killed a 51-year-old cyclist in Burbank. Two weeks ago, the cyclist was riding his bicycle in a designated bike lane when a car door opened in front of his path. After colliding with the car door, the cyclist was thrown into traffic and hit by an oncoming pickup truck. Emergency personnel rushed the cyclist to a hospital, but he later died from his injuries.
This type of accident can occur even in designated bike lanes. Unfortunately, many bike lanes are next to rows of parked cars.
You are also more likely to be in a dooring accident while biking in urban or residential areas. The following steps may help you reduce the risk of a dooring accident.
- Do not ride in the dooring zone. Ride farther to the left when passing parked vehicles. If the bike lane is too close to parked vehicles, it may even be necessary to ride in the roadway.
- Make yourself visible to motorists. Bright colors and lights can improve your safety in general. Improving your visibility will also help you avoid a dooring accident. Motorists who are exiting their vehicles are more likely to see you approaching. Make sure you are also following California’s bike light laws, which we have published on our site.
- Ride slowly and cautiously. You should ride slowly and cautiously if you are passing a row of parked cars. The goal is to give yourself enough space to stop or move out of the way if a door opens while you are passing. You could also look for movement inside of the vehicles to help you determine whether someone is about to open a door.
Who Is Liable for a Dooring Accident in California?
Motorists are generally liable for dooring accidents. California Vehicle Code 22517 states that motorists may not open car doors along roadside traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and will not interfere with traffic. This bicycle law is sometimes called California’s “dooring law.”
If you or a loved one suffered harm in a bicycle accident, it may be possible to hold the motorist accountable for damages. San Diego bicycle accident attorney Frederick M. Dudek can help you determine whether it would be possible to seek compensation.