What is dooring?
‘Dooring’ or getting ‘doored’ is the term used for when a cyclist is struck by a car door that is suddenly opened directly into their path of travel. Dooring collision are one of the most common ways cyclists are injured. This can happen anywhere, but cities have a higher risk given the prevalence of bike lanes running adjacent to parked vehicles. With the upswing in ridesharing services and food delivery vehicles, more and more cars are parking in unexpected places to pickup riders or deliveries, making city cyclists particularly vulnerable to dooring.
Who is at fault for dooring collisions?
California Vehicle Code section 22517 states “no person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so.” If a driver opens their door without looking, and they injure you while you’re riding your bike legally, it is not your fault. The California Vehicle Code requires that that cyclists ride as far to the right as practicable, but this also puts cyclists right along the edge of parked cars.
Insurance companies will try to argue that you as a cyclists should not have been riding so close to parked cars. This flips the standard on its head entirely. It is the job of drivers, not cyclists to avoid dooring collisions. Cyclists are legally required to ride as far to the right as possible on public roads, and where bike lanes are present they typically are located directly next to the parking lane.
How to avoid getting doored.
Even though a driver is legally at fault for dooring a cyclist, cyclists can do everything in their power to keep a lookout for dangers. Look out for signs that a person may be exiting the car, including the car turning off, parking lights, or people inside the car. Be wary of vehicles with decals affiliating the vehicle with ridesharing (Uber, Lyft, etc) or delivery (Doordash, GrubHub, etc) because those vehicles are more likely to have someone exiting the vehicle quickly with their mind on their job rather than cyclist safety.
What to do if you are doored.
If you are doored by a driver and seriously injured, seek medical attention immediately. If you are riding with a friend, or there are witnesses to the collision, ask them to take photos of the collision scene to use as proof in your insurance claim. If you are not severely injured and able to do so, take photos yourself, including of the driver’s insurance information, driver’s license, and license plate. Contact a bicycle lawyer to learn about making a claim for your damages.