New York City, NY top attorney, handles bus accidents, MTA, medical malpractice, doctor errors, wrongful death, airline injuries & death, and construction cases. Attorney Jonathan C. Reiter consistently delivers results.
Bicycling has become increasingly popular in New York City, where residents take more than 450,000 bicycle trips every day. There are also 10,000 Citi Bikes in service in the city, and about one in five bicycle trips involve someone commuting to work.
Unfortunately, bicycling is not without risk. Because bicyclists must share the roads with vehicles in one of the most congested cities in the world, anyone riding a bike in New York City is at risk of being injured in a collision with a motor vehicle.
One of the most serious types of bicycling accidents is “dooring.” When a bicyclist gets hurt in a dooring crash, they collide with the door of a parked car as the person inside the vehicle swings it open.
This incident can happen when a bicyclist is traveling down a line of parked cars. If the person inside the vehicle doesn’t look before they open the door, they can seriously hurt a bicyclist by opening the door directly into the bicyclist’s path. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in New York City or the surrounding areas, speak to a bicycle accident lawyer right away.
New York City Dooring Law
Some New Yorkers don’t realize that dooring is against the law. Section 1214 of the New York Vehicle & Traffic Law states, “No person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.”
If a motorist is negligent and fails to check the road before opening their vehicle’s door, he or she can be held responsible for any injuries that result if a bicyclist gets hurt.
In a city like New York City, where bicycle messengers make deliveries at all hours of the day, it’s important for motorists to be aware of the law, and to take steps to ensure they operate their vehicles safely.
It’s also important for passengers riding in taxis and rideshare vehicles to use caution whenever exiting a car. Sometimes, people are in such a hurry to reach their destination they forget to check outside before swinging open their door. This lack of care can cause a bicyclist to suffer serious injuries.
When a bicyclist is involved in a dooring accident, they can suffer serious injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, broken bones and other debilitating injuries. This is why it’s important for both bicyclists and motorists to do everything they can to prevent these types of accidents.
Tips for Protecting Against a Dooring Injury
If you’re a bicyclist, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of being involved in a dooring accident.
- Look Several Feet Ahead – Bicyclists should always scan the road ahead as they travel down a line of parked cars. The more time you have to slow down, the likelier you are to avoid hitting a door that suddenly appears in your path.
- Use Bicycle Lanes – Whenever possible, bicyclists should use designated bicycle lanes. This designated lane helps separate bicyclists from motor vehicle traffic. However, bicyclists should continue to use caution in bicycle lanes. Don’t assume that the bicycle lane gives you a safe amount of distance from parked cars. In many cases, bicycle lanes are squeezed right next to lanes for motor vehicle traffic.
- Reduce Your Speed – While riding on a bicycle, you can typically move in and out of motor vehicle traffic with ease. However, you shouldn’t rush to get around cars. If a motorist doesn’t see you, they could open their door without warning.
- Avoid Distractions – Most people are familiar with distracting driving, but they might not pay as much attention to the dangers of bicycling while distracted. If you bicycle with your headphones in or while glancing down at a text or email, you’re not giving the road your full attention which can lead to serious accidents.
- Keep a Safe Distance Away from Cars – It’s not always possible to put distance between your bicycle and a line of parked cars, but try to maintain between two and three feet of distance when possible. Maintaining this distance can help keep you out of the path of a car door if it swings open without warning.
Motorists can do their part to reduce dooring accidents by always looking in front of their car and behind it before opening the door. Bicyclists can move quickly, so it’s always important to look before exiting the vehicle.
If you’ve been injured in a dooring accident as a bicyclist, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other damages. It’s important to talk to an experienced New York City bicycling injury lawyer about your case.
Manhattan Bicycle Injury Attorney Jonathan C. Reiter
Prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case. Recoveries always depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case, the injuries suffered, damages incurred, and the responsibility of those involved.