Anyone who regularly rides a bicycle instead of driving a car to get around knows how dangerous cycling can be. Debris in the street, inconsiderate car drivers, pedestrians, inclement weather and many other dangers can be serious hazards for cyclists.
One of the most unpredictable and sudden things that can happen to someone who is going down the road on a bicycle is getting doored. If you have ridden a bicycle down a busy street, it’s likely that you’ve had to deal with the following scenario:
You’re riding down a bike lane, between moving traffic on your left and parked cars on your right. Suddenly, a car in front of you, which was parked too far from the curb, opens its door right into your bike lane. You either have to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting the door, or else swerve dangerously into the lane occupied by moving cars to your left.
Dooring is responsible for many accidents and several deaths a year
In New York City, at least three of the 28 bicycle deaths that occurred in 2019 were the result of dooring. That statistic only reflects the number of people who died from being doored. Many more suffered grave physical injury and expensive property damage.
These problems have caused many cities and states, including New York, to enact specific ordinances and statutes designed to combat dooring deaths and injuries.
There are several laws aimed at preventing dooring
New York Vehicle & Traffic Law section 1214 is one such statute. It essentially makes it an infraction to open your car door at unsafe times, such as when it interferes with traffic passing your parked car. It also penalizes you for leaving open your street-side car door for longer than is necessary to load and unload passengers.
These New York statutes give you a legal leg to stand on if you are injured by someone’s open car door. If this happens to you, you may want to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to assist you in bringing a claim against the driver for negligence.