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What bicyclists should know about dooring accidents

Each year, more than 48,000 undergraduate and graduate students attend Penn State’s University Park campus. Many of those students rely on their bicycles to get around campus and around town. Unfortunately, one of the biggest accident risks bicyclists face are dooring accidents.

Dooring accidents

Dooring accidents occur when a driver or passenger opens a vehicle door without watching for a passing bicyclist. The door either hits the bicyclist or the bicyclist doesn’t have time to stop to avoid the open door. Bicyclists often suffer serious injuries in dooring accidents. Some even are killed. Dooring accidents are more common in high-traffic areas, such as in downtowns.

Ford recently announced it is developing technology to prevent dooring accidents. The car manufacturer plans to add a special exit warning function to blind-spot information systems. The technology will detect an oncoming bicyclist and begin emergency braking. Engineers also want to develop a car door that won’t open if it detects a bicyclist or someone on an electric scooter near it.

Preventing dooring accidents

As a bicyclist, the best ways to avoid a dooring accident is to ride in designated bike lanes and ride at least three feet away from parked cars. For motorists, they need to get in the habit of looking for approaching bicyclists before they open their car doors.

Who is liable after a dooring accident?

If you suffer an injury a dooring accident as a bicyclist, the person who opened the door and injured you likely is at fault for the accident. You should consult a personal injury attorney if you suffered a serious injury, such as a traumatic brain injury, back injury or broken bones, and need help making a personal injury claim.

You always need to be careful and watch motorists closely as a bicyclist to stay safe. Yet, you also deserve injury compensation if you suffer an injury because of a driver’s or passenger’s negligence.