November 7, 2022
Auto Accident

Cycling is an excellent form of exercise and a practical mode of transportation. It’s good for the environment, less expensive than driving, and lowers traffic congestion. Cycling can also build strength and flexibility, help with coordination and balance, and improve overall health by strengthening the cardiovascular system.

But cycling doesn’t come without risks. In the United States, bicycle rides make up 1% of all trips recorded each year. However, bicyclists make up 2% of people who die in accidents with motor vehicles. Over 130,000 bicyclists are injured yearly, and 1,000 die in road crashes.

In 2018, Alabama saw 209 cyclist injuries and 9 fatalities, with 86% occurring in urban areas. In 2020, that number remained similar, with 8 cyclist deaths and 168 injuries.

One common accident involving cars and bicycles is dooring. Dooring can be fatal for cyclists or leave them with severe injuries. If you or a family member have been involved in a dooring accident, a personal injury lawyer from The Vance Law Firm can help you understand your rights and seek compensation for your injuries.

What is a Dooring Injury?

Dooring accidents happen when a car occupant opens their door into a moving cyclist. In some cases, the cyclist may not have time to stop or avoid the opened door and hit it at a high speed. Alternatively, the cyclist may swerve to avoid the door and veer into traffic to be hit by another car.

Dooring is often caused by motorists parking in or too close to bike lanes or not looking when they open their doors. As long as the cyclist was within a bike path at the time of the accident, most motorists will carry responsibility for the dooring accident.

Alabama dooring laws stipulate that vehicle drivers must not open their doors or leave them open longer than necessary into oncoming traffic. Oncoming traffic includes bicycles in the bicycle lane or on the right-hand side of the road. These laws help prevent injury to cyclists and allow cyclists to pursue compensation for bicycle injuries if they suffer damages due to a driver’s negligence.

How Common Are Dooring Injuries?

Although many states don’t calculate dooring data, reports from cyclist-heavy cities like San Francisco and Boston offer insights into the frequency of dooring accidents. In one study on Boston cyclists, 66% of injuries were caused by a collision with the vehicle, including dooring. In a 2016 study from San Francisco, 16% of injury or death to cyclists was due to dooring.

If you suffer a dooring injury in Alabama, a Montgomery bicycle accident attorney can help. The bicycle lawyers at The Vance Law Firm can review the incident that caused your injuries and help you determine a fair settlement to pay for your accident-related medical expenses.

Why Are Dooring Injuries So Dangerous?

Dooring injuries can cause serious injuries to cyclists. Typically, adult cyclists travel at a speed of 9.7 miles per hour. This speed is more than enough to cause injury or death when coming in contact with a hard metal object such as a car door. A cyclist may also be struck by a passing car as they swerve to avoid the door or if thrown into traffic by the impact, which can cause severe injury or death.

Common dooring injuries include:

  • Concussions
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Severe lacerations
  • Broken and dislocated bones
  • Internal bleeding
  • Internal organ damage
  • Spinal cord injuries

Tips for Avoiding Dooring Injuries

While avoiding a dooring injury is not always in the control of the cyclist, there are a few tips for cyclists to follow that can help to prevent harm while on the road:

  • Ride a bike that fits you, as you may have difficulty controlling a bike that is too big.
  • Get your bicycle’s brakes regularly checked and repaired.
  • Wear a helmet at all times.
  • Wear bright-colored clothing during daylight.
  • At night, wear reflective gear and ensure your bike has a white front light and red rear light and reflectors.
  • Keep both hands on the handlebars unless signaling.
  • Plan your route and choose safe paths with designated bike lanes.
  • Aim to keep two to three feet between you and any car.
  • Don’t text, listen to music, or otherwise engage in behaviors that distract you from the road.

Learn Your Rights With Vance Law Firm

If you’ve been injured while riding your bicycle, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. The attorneys at Vance Law Firm can help cyclists injured in dooring accidents with a vehicle in Alabama. We can help you explore possible compensation for getting knocked off a bike by a car by reviewing your case and collecting evidence to show that the negligent party caused your damages.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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