There are many risks cyclists face when sharing the road with fast moving vehicles. However, even parked cars can present a deadly threat to cyclists. Getting “doored” is a common accident for cyclists, especially in urban areas. Dooring involves the cyclist is riding alongside a parked car when a driver or passenger suddenly opens a door. Dooring is also becoming more common in Colorado with Lyft and Uber passengers quickly hopping out of their ride without looking.
A cyclist traveling at 10 or 20 miles per hour may have no chance to slow down or stop to avoid a sudden door opening. The cyclist can crash into the door, or swerve to avoid the door and ride into traffic. Dooring accidents can even be fatal for cyclists, all because the driver did not look before putting a barrier in front of an oncoming rider.
The Dutch Reach
The Netherlands has one of the highest rates of people who regularly ride bikes in the world. Almost half of the country commutes to work or school by bike. With so many Dutch cyclists on the road, the country understands some of the best ways for cyclists and drivers to share the road.
The so-called “Dutch Reach” method is a safer way for drivers to open their doors. According to the Dutch Reach Project, Dutch kids learn the technique in school, in drivers' ed, and have to use it to pass their driving test.
Using the Dutch Reach, the driver will open their car door from the inside using their right hand instead of their left hand. Using your right hand requires the driver to turn their body, facing towards the side of the car. This gives the driver a chance to look at the side mirror or check to their rear to see if there is a coming cyclist.
Fatal Dooring Accidents in the U.S.
Colorado and the U.S. have not widely adopted the Dutch Reach. As a result, many cyclists continue to be injured or killed by drivers who unlawfully open their doors without making sure it is safe to do so. In a study of bike injury and fatality collisions in San Francisco, the 2nd highest cause of accidents by traffic violation was “opening the door into moving traffic.”
Only last month, a 30-year-old cyclist in San Francisco was fatally doored by a vehicle. The cyclist was out riding near Golden Gate Park in the morning when a driver opened the door of their parked car. The cyclist struck the door and was ejected into the road where he was hit by an oncoming vehicle.
In New York, cyclist deaths in 2019 were at their highest record in the last 20 years. In New York City, 28 cyclists were killed in 2019, more than 20% up from the year before. At least 3 of those fatalities involved getting doored.
Doored by a Parked Car in Colorado?
The attorneys at accidentdenver.com have successfully represented cyclists who crashed into a driver and passenger doors in Denver, Boulder, Aurora, and throughout Colorado. Our experienced attorneys will fight to get the maximum compensation available for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.