Imagine you are riding your bicycle safely down the street, staying in the designated bicycle lane, being reasonably cautious, and obeying all applicable traffic laws. Suddenly, without warning, a car door swings open, strikes you and your bike, and knocks you to the pavement. You have suffered a number of injuries and need medical attention. You are also at risk of being struck by other vehicles on the road or street and receiving further injuries.
Who is at Fault for Doorings
Sadly, the situation described above happens every day in Florida and many cyclists are severely hurt; some are even killed. “Dooring,” as this scenario is commonly known, also violates Florida law. The law prohibits opening the door of any motor vehicle until it is safe to do so and will not interfere with other moving traffic, including bicycles. Unfortunately, too many operators of motor vehicles are either unaware of the law or simply do not comply with it.
Avoiding Bicycle Doorings
According to the Florida Bicycle Association, cyclists can prevent dooring related crashes. The FBA offers these safety tips for cyclists to avoid doorings:
- Allow space for the car doors;
- Remember that vehicles’ widths, their doors, and the distance they are parked from the curb vary;
- Allow additional distance to prevent a car door from startling you if it is opened near your path;
- Allow for “the widest door and worst parking job” as you ride your bike;
- Regardless of where the bike lane is, stay at least 5 feet away from parked cars;
- Ride your bike in a straight line so that you will be visible and predictable to other drivers on the street or road; and
- If staying outside of the “door zone” requires you to control a lane of traffic, then do
The points listed above are great tips for avoiding a dooring accident—and prudent cyclists will follow them—but what happens if you are the victim of a dooring accident?
Damages Recovered in a Bicycle Dooring Accident
Under Florida law, if you have been injured by a dooring caused by the negligence of the operator of a motor vehicle, you may be able to recover the following monetary damages:
- past and future medical expenses;
- past and future lost wages;
- loss of enjoyment of life;
- mental anguish;
- pain and suffering; and
You may also be able to recover an amount for the damage to your bicycle. If your loved one has died as a result of a bicycle dooring accident, you may be able to recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a bicycle accident, please seek appropriate medical treatment immediately. Then please contact us for a free consultation about your case. You may phone us at 305-372-0123 (local) or 866-769-0123 (toll free) or contact us online to arrange your consultation. At no charge, you can tell us about your experience and learn how the legal system may handle your case. We look forward to working with you.