It's every bicyclist's worst nightmare. You're riding down the street and a line of vehicles is parked parallel to your right along the road. You're following all traffic laws and riding carefully, then out of nowhere, the drivers' side doors of one of the parked cars flies open directly in your path. You crash into the door, go flying over your handlebars and your body smashes into the concrete.
As a result of the collision, you break your collarbone, bruise some ribs and have a near-fatal head injury. Meanwhile, the driver of the car is looking over you and trying to tell you it was your fault.
Are dooring accidents the fault of bicyclists drivers?
The law on so-called "dooring accidents," in which a motorist opens his or her door suddenly in the path of bicyclist is clear. These accidents are, in the vast majority of cases the fault of the motorist. Drivers have a duty to check behind them and make sure that the way is clear before they open their door. Failure to pay attention to what could be coming up behind them is negligence, and if a driver hurts cyclist like this, he or she will likely be liable for financial damages relating to the costs of the bicyclist's medical care and other categories of damages.
Dooring accidents more common than ever in Chicago
Unfortunately, tragic dooring accidents are more common than ever in Chicago. In 2015, a total of 302 bicyclists got into a dooring accident like this, which was a significant increase compared to the 202 cyclists who were doored in 2014. Still, it's not clear whether this increase was the result of more accidents, or merely the result of better enforcement by officers who correctly identify when such an accident occurs.
File a personal injury claim for injuries after a dooring accident
Bicyclists injured by irresponsible motorists in dooring accidents may be able to seek financial restitution in court. A qualified personal injury lawyer will be able to review your potential claim for damages to advise you of your legal rights and options regarding your dooring accident.