Cycling in places like Boulder is a way for residents to stay fit, help students get to and around the CU campus, and can relieve the congestion and pollution of traffic in Boulder. Cyclists have to ride defensively in Colorado. Not all drivers follow the law or keep an eye out for cyclists. When a car and a bike get into an accident, the cyclists almost always lose.
More people in Boulder, Denver, and across the country, are using rideshare companies like Uber to get around. Uber lets riders get around without a car, travel without having to worry about drinking and driving, and can help avoid the cost and hassle of parking. With more Uber drivers on the road, there are more cyclists who are injured or killed in accidents with Uber vehicles.
If you were involved in a cycling accident with an Uber driver, talk to a lawyer about your rights. The attorneys at accidentdenver.com will investigate your case and work to get you the maximum compensation after an injury accident in Denver, Boulder, or anywhere in Colorado. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Dooring Accidents with Cyclists
Dooring is one of the most common accidents for cyclists in urban areas. Getting “doored” is what it sounds like, a cyclist is riding along parked cars when a driver or passenger suddenly opens a door. The cyclist may have no time to react and crashes into the door, falling over the door or vehicle, possibly breaking the window or landing on their head. Other “dooring” or “doored cyclist” accidents involve:
- Crashing into the driver or passenger who suddenly steps out of the vehicle,
- Getting hit by the door as it opens, or
- Swerving to try and avoid the door and hitting the car or crashing in traffic.
According to the City of Boulder Bike Safety website, cyclists should, “ride outside the door zone of parked cars.” However, most cyclists know that can be impossible at times, especially on many of the narrower streets, around Downtown Boulder, or while riding around campus.
On the streets with bike lanes, parked cars on the side leave little more than 6 inches from the bike lane. Many riders even have to ride outside the bike lanes to avoid a parked car's side mirror. This leaves cyclists sandwiched between parked cars with doors they are supposed to avoid and traffic speeding by on the other side.
Uber Drivers and the Risk of Doored Bicyclists in Colorado
More than 60% of motorist/cyclist accidents occur because motorists don't adequately look for cyclists. This is also the cause of many of the accidents where an Uber driver causes an accident with a cyclist, including dooring the unsuspecting cyclist. Uber may be even more likely to door a cyclist, with the many stops, passengers hopping in and out, and stopping in traffic when a cyclist is riding past.
Uber Drivers Stopping in Traffic
Even though it is often against the law, many Uber drivers simply stop in traffic to let passengers in or out. Parking may be difficult to find but stopping in traffic can be an additional risk to cyclists passing on the right or through a bike lane. Cyclists may have no idea that the driver is parking instead of waiting in traffic.
Uber drivers who stop in traffic to let passengers out or in may be inexperienced, or are unaware that what they are doing is in violation of traffic laws, including Colorado Revised Statutes § 42-4-1207, or leaving a door open in traffic.
Uber Drivers Pulling Between Bike Lane and Curb
An Uber driver may find a spot to pull over between the curb and the bike lane. If the Uber driver then gets out of the car, to help a passenger with luggage, the driver may be putting a cyclist at risk of getting doored. Looking out for cyclists while driving and while stopped can help prevent these dangerous accidents.
Uber Drivers Blocking the Bike Lane
One of the most common frustrations for cyclists is vehicles blocking bike lanes. Cyclists are criticized for riding on the sidewalk, or riding too slowly in traffic. However, when an Uber vehicle is blocking the bike lane, there may be nowhere else to go. Going around the vehicle may put the cyclist close to the parked car, and increase the chance of getting doored if the driver suddenly gets out.
Avoiding Doored Bicyclists Accidents
The simplest way to avoid dooring a bicycle is to look before opening the door. The “Dutch Reach” method was developed in the Netherlands, the country with the highest rate of cyclists in the world, where half of all commuting is done by bicycle.
The Dutch Reach simply involves a driver opening the car door from the inside with the right hand. This causes the driver to do a shoulder check, to look for cyclists as well as other traffic. Similarly, passengers on the right side of the vehicle can use their left hand to open the door, scanning for approaching cyclists.
Who is Responsible for a Doored Bike Accident?
Drivers are quick to blame the cyclist for running into the car door. However, the Uber driver is often at fault for a doored bike accident. Fault may be shown through violation of a traffic law, such as illegally blocking traffic or unlawfully opening a door into traffic when it is not safe to do so. Fault can also be shown through common negligence, where an Uber driver or passenger is at fault for breaching their duty of care.
Personal Injury Claim After a Doored Bike Accident with Uber
After an accident with an Uber driver, you may be able to file a personal injury claim for damages. Do not just rely on Uber or the driver's insurance company to do the right thing. The insurance company may be looking to pay out as little as possible, even if you suffered serious injuries.
The injury victim in a bike accident may be able to claim damages for the accident, including:
- Bike repair or replacement,
- Medical bills,
- Loss of earnings or income, and
- Loss of future earning capacity.
Help With Your Colorado Bike and Uber Accident
The attorneys at accidentdenver.com have successfully represented cyclists who crashed into an Uber driver's door in Colorado. Our experienced attorneys will fight to get the maximum compensation available for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.