American Association for Justice
Greater Lowell

Bicycle Dooring Accidents

One of the most unique type of bicycle accidents is when someone in a parked car suddenly opens a door into the bike’s lane of travel. It’s often impossible for a cyclist to anticipate that a car door will open. Since a bike rider usually can’t see into the car, car doors open suddenly, not giving the cyclist time to avoid the collision. This can obviously cause serious injuries to a cyclist traveling straight ahead.

What also happens is that a car driver or passengers opens a car, a cyclist takes evasive action to avoid the door, and then loses control of the bike or hits another object. Though the car door might not have come into contact with the bike, the person who opened the door is still liable for whatever injury is caused.

The Dutch Reach

This serious injury threat was finally included in the Massachusetts Drivers Manual in 2017. With this new guidance came a suggestion that originated overseas: The Dutch Reach. What this means is that when either a driver or passenger opens a car door on the drivers side of the vehicle, the proper way is to use your right hand, not your left.

Most people will instinctively use the left hand because it’s closer to the door. However, using the right hand helps in two ways:

  • First, by using the right hand, it makes it easier for the driver or passenger to have a greater range of vision. It forces the body to turn around, giving the person a greater opportunity to look at his/her surroundings to look for cars or bicycles.
  • Second, it prevents the car door from being opened too quickly. Using the left hand, it is easy to quickly swing the door open. Using the right hand, the car door will first be opened slightly, and then pushed open in a second movement.

The Dutch Reach can be seen in the following video created by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

Serious Injuries from Dooring Accidents

Whether the person in the car used their left hand or right hand, a car door opening into the path of a swiftly moving bicycle can cause serious injuries. While a car has many safety devices to prevent injuries in the event of a crash, a bicycle does not have these features. There are no seatbelts or airbags to prevent injuries when a bicycle is struck by a car.

Because of how vulnerable bike riders are in a collision, the injuries are often catastrophic. These injuries include:

Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorneys

If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident because someone opened their door in your path of travel, you need an experienced lawyer that knows how to show that the driver or passenger should have been more careful. You also need someone well versed in documenting and describing an injury to an insurance company.

The attorneys at Marcotte Law Firm have decades of experience dealing with the nuances of bike accidents. In fact, our attorneys have commuted by bicycle and they’ve been part of recreational bicycling groups. We understand bike accidents, and we understand insurance. Please call us at (978) 458-1229 or contact us for a free consultation.

As with any personal injury case, there is no fee unless we get you the compensation you deserve.

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