I Was ‘Doored.’ Who Is Liable?

Riding a bike is one of the best ways to go green in an increasingly environmentally conscious world. If you have the option to ride to and from work, you’ll keep a vehicle off the road and get your body some much-needed physical activity. However, being a cyclist can be dangerous, especially in the city. With the congestion of traffic and pedestrians, a cyclist must always be on high alert for errant people and vehicles. An especially dangerous obstacle is an opening car door. When someone exiting a car opens the door without seeing you, it may cause you great harm. If you get into an accident like this, who is at fault?

The Side of the Road Bike Rule

When a bicycle hits the road, it must follow traffic laws. If a cyclist is traveling on a roadway with other vehicles, they are required to ride as far right as possible (unless it is a one-way road, then it may ride left). If there is no bike lane, this often means a cyclist should ride close to parked cars. The only times a cyclist may leave this far-right pattern include:

  • They are avoiding a hazard
  • They are turning left
  • They can keep up with traffic
  • The roadway is too narrow

If a bicyclist is riding legally and winds up facing a door opening in their path, the consequences may be dire; however, the driver of the vehicle may be found liable.

The Question of Avoidance

One of the most significant questions an insurance adjuster must answer is whether the crash was avoidable. When a cyclist gets hit with a door, and all rules of the road were followed, the rider is innocent for all intents and purposes. However, the adjuster will then have to decide whether there was any time for the biker to adjust their route and miss the door. Measurements will be taken, brakes tested and at the end of it all, an insurance company may find the cyclist wholly or partially at fault. If there is enough evidence to support a finding of negligence on the part of the bike rider, there is a chance the vehicle driver gets little or no part of the blame. In these circumstances, there was enough compensatory evidence that the cyclist was either distracted or riding illegally and the crash was not the driver’s fault.

When you get injured on your bike by a car door, you may automatically believe you are blame free. While getting doored can usually be attributed to a combination of factors, some of these may end with you not getting a dime for your injuries. Hire a bicycle accidents lawyer who can help you get the financial help you need to recover.

Source: Bike Accident Lawyer Brookhaven, GA, Butler Law Firm

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