One of the most common types of bicycle accidents is “dooring”, which occurs when a bicyclist is struck by a car door. These accidents most frequently occur when bicyclists are riding next to parked vehicles and a passenger inside the vehicle suddenly opens a car door, which creates a sudden and unexpected obstacle in a cyclist’s path. These accidents are particularly common in the highly populated cities in Florida where cars frequently park at the side of the road.
It might not seem like dooring accidents can be particularly serious, but these accidents can severely injure and even killed bicyclists. The most serious types of dooring accidents involve bicyclists who strike a door, lose control of their cycle, and end up getting struck by another vehicle. Fortunately, in a large number of dooring accidents, bicyclists are able to obtain compensation from the responsible party.
Florida Law Regarding Dooring Accidents
In the state of Florida, there are laws that specifically penalize individuals who open their car doors suddenly and create obstacles for cyclists. Florida Statute 316.2005 prohibits any person from opening the doors on a motor vehicle unless it is safe to do so and can be done without creating interference for other traffic. Individuals are prohibited from leaving doors open at the side of a vehicle facing traffic for any amount of time that is longer than necessary to transport passengers. Despite the existence of this law, however, many police officers do not actively enforce these violations.
Insurance Issues Regarding Dooring
Dooring accidents frequently involve complicated insurance issues. Often the person who causes a bicyclist to strike a door is not the owner of the vehicle. Frequently, in these situations, a skilled attorney can help the accident victim obtain compensation from multiple insurance carriers including the vehicle’s owner and the passenger. As a result, even though dooring accidents are often serious, it is important to remember that there are almost always options to obtain the compensation that injured parties deserve.
How to Respond After a Dooring Accident
If you are a bicyclist who is injured in a dooring accident, there are some important steps that you should follow which include:
- Make sure that the vehicle’s passengers remain at the scene of the accident.
- Contact law enforcement so that a police report can be filed. Do this even if you do not believe that you have been seriously injured.
- Obtain important details including names, contact information, and insurance carrier details for all involved parties. Also obtain contact information for any witnesses who saw the accident occur.
- If it is safe to do so, document the scene of the accident with your cell phone including any injuries and property damage.
Speak with a Seasoned Florida Bicycle Accident Lawyer
In the state of Florida, bicyclists are permitted to travel in entire lanes of traffic to prevent dooring accidents. To further minimize the chances of being involved in a dooring accident, it is often a wise idea to always remain three to four feet from a vehicle in case a door opens suddenly. Dooring accidents, however, still happen and can seriously impact the lives of bicyclists. If you are involved in a dooring accident, contact a bicycle accident attorney at the office of Guy S. DiMartino, DC, JD, PA today to make sure that you have the best possible chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve.