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What is Dooring?
“Dooring” refers to a person exiting a parked vehicle who opens their car door to hit a biker riding by. Of course, this is almost always an act of negligence. It typically occurs in urban areas, making it common in Washington, D.C. Dooring can lead to nasty injuries. Due to the unexpected nature of these types of accidents, bikers need more time to react before a door strikes them.
In our 70 years of experience handling bike accident cases, we have seen bikers suffer from concussions, fractures, contusions, scrapes, bruises, and more. While hopefully you are wearing a helmet if you are riding a bike, it is uncommon for bikers to wear protection on arms, wrists, or hands. Thus, broken wrists are a common injury in bike accidents in The District. Please call our office for help if you wish to pursue an injury claim because of dooring.
Tips to Avoid Dooring
If you are a victim of dooring, it is because a person exiting their vehicle did not see you. Thus, staying visible will reduce the likelihood of dooring in the future. How do you do this? You can try to ride far enough away from cars to remain in view of their mirrors. While this does not guarantee avoiding all dooring accidents, the best you can do is decrease the likelihood.
If a person exiting a car or truck does see you, they may still negligently strike you with their door. While you technically have the right and would not be legally liable for rapidly increasing or decreasing your speed, you should choose to remain predictable so you will not surprise anyone and be struck. You can ride your bicycle straight and maintain a consistent speed.
Use a Bell
This specific and actionable tip enables you to remain visible even when not within sight of someone exiting their car. Not everyone exiting has clear visibility of their mirror. While they can still use a headcheck and be safe, only some do. A bell can significantly reduce your likelihood of being doored. As you are riding by a car, it will alert the person exiting that someone is riding by them. While a bell will not eliminate the chance of being doored, anything to protect yourself is valuable regarding your safety.
What rights do bikers have under the law? In Washington, D.C., bikers have a right to use the road. Drivers must use care when around bikers. Besides using the road, bikers sometimes have their own lane in D.C. If not, they share a lane exclusively with buses or scooter riders. Bikers even have a right to ride on the sidewalk safely and reasonably. Washington, D.C. grants bikers a host of rights, more than many other jurisdictions in the country.
Washington, D.C., is just one of five jurisdictions maintaining a contributory negligence rule. This rule bars recovery if a fact finder finds a plaintiff to be even 1% negligent himself. While a harsh rule, there is little to be done about it in court. The only way this rule will change is by legislative action. Thus, a biker must behave within the letter of the law to a tee.
Contact a Bike Accident Lawyer in Washington, D.C.
We handle dozens of bike accident cases every year. We also handle car accident cases, truck accident cases, nightclub injury cases, and any other case where you are hurt due to someone else’s conduct. If you have a case or have questions about dooring in The District, please contact our office for a free consultation.
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