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How to handle a dooring accident

Photo of Christopher Seleski

Imagine riding down the street, training for your next century ride. You have hit your top speed and you seem to be effortlessly cranking the pedals as you cruise down the street. You might even reach a new time for your personal best today. Everything was going perfectly until a car door suddenly opened up in front of you, right in the middle of the bike lane. You have just been "doored."

If this has not happened to you yet, there is a good chance that it might. When it does, it is important to understand your rights as a cyclist in New York. A local injury attorney can advise you on how the law affects you and the driver that caused the accident. Read further for tips on how to avoid a dooring and how to handle the aftermath if avoidance is impossible.

Avoiding the door zone

The number one way to avoid a dooring accident is to ride outside of the door zone. This may mean that you have to ride to the far left of the bike lane, or possibly outside of it. Do your best never to ride right next to parked cars. Always be alert for people still sitting in their cars, as they might swing that door open at any time.

What to do after a dooring

Sometimes it is impossible to avoid a dooring. You might be riding in the bike, in between a moving vehicle and parked cars. Your margin of error is slim in these circumstances and your risk of a dooring increased.

If you are in a dooring accident, tell the driver to stay until the police arrive. If he or she refuses, be sure to get as much information as possible. This may mean taking pictures of the vehicle or just making a mental note of the make, model, and license plate of the car. If the driver is cooperative, go ahead and get his or her driver's license and insurance information. In addition, take down the driver's contact information as well.

Get the names, contact information and statements of anyone that witnessed the accident. Ask them to remain at the scene as well until the police arrive.

Handling the police

It is possible that the police will dismiss the accident. Do not let this happen. You have as much right to be on the road as a driver. Ask the officer to file an official report. Make a note of the officer's name and badge number. Furthermore, request that the officer take statements from the witnesses.

Get medical attention

Even if you think you are not seriously injured, make an appointment with your doctor and have him or her check you over for injuries. It is possible that you will not feel certain muscle strains or other injuries caused by the accident for a day or two.

If you have been a victim of dooring, it is important to know how to handle the aftermath of the accident in New York.

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Past President NYSTLA
Big Apple | Pothole & Sidewalk Protection Committee
Trial Lawyers Care
Super Lawyers
Take Justice Back | www.takejusticeback.com
Life Member | Million Dollar Advocates Forum | Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum | The Top Trial Lawyers in America
American Association for Justice Leaders Forum | Patron 2015
American Association for Justice | Sustaining Member 2015
Avvo Rating | 10.0 Superb | Top Attorney Medical Malpractice

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