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What do people do before getting out of the car?

You're riding down the street, in the bike lane. Cars line the road. You know the risk of getting doored, so you've been keeping an eye on the cars. As long as you have looked down the street, no new cars have parked. You figure they're all empty.

Then, without warning, a man swings his door open and steps into the street. Maybe you hit the door. Maybe you swerve to avoid it and get hit by a car in the street. Either way, you wind up in the hospital. You have serious spinal cord injuries and may never ride -- or walk -- again.

How did it happen? You looked for new cars and didn't see any. Did you overlook anything? Your whole life has changed forever. Could you have done anything differently?

Drivers should look for cyclists

What happened is probably very simple. The man in the car parked a while ago, before you came within sight of the car. Then he waited in his car until that inopportune moment when, without looking for you, he stepped out.

Experts do note, of course, that people should always look for cyclists and stop hitting them with their doors. It's a serious and very easily avoidable accident. It happens way too often. People cannot be bothered to take five seconds to check and make sure the street is clear before they get out.

What do they do instead? They go on their phones. They send text messages. They check their email inbox or their social media accounts. They make calls. They finish listening to a song on the radio. They wait for a specific time when they need to arrive at a meeting.

They do all sorts of things, but they won't check for cyclists. In fact, after they park and get out of the driving mindset, they may stop thinking about the street entirely. They get distracted. They begin focusing on other tasks.

Then, when it's time to exit the car, they do it without thinking and without looking at the road.

What are your options?

You would think drivers would avoid this type of crash at all costs. After all, they don't know if a car is coming without checking, either. Looking back at the street could save their own lives. Even that doesn't appear to be enough to make them wary.

So, when a driver or a passenger gets out and hits you with a door, do you know what your options look like? You could suffer some serious injuries. Your life and career could change forever. You must know what steps you can take to seek compensation.

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