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Cycling is a mode of transport that boosts your aerobic fitness and enhances your brain power. Plus, it’s practically fuel-independent and environmentally friendly. That means using it more often helps you fight pollution and global warming. Eco-conscious people and exercise enthusiasts alike can enjoy it as a way of travel.
Despite these benefits to your health and environment, cycling isn’t immune from the common risks of being on the road.
One of the significant dangers cyclists face is accidents, dooring is a prevalent one. This article provides everything you need to know about it and what you can do if you become a victim.
What Are Dooring Accidents?
Dooring is a bicycle accident where a car door suddenly opens in front of a moving cyclist. In this situation, the cyclist won’t have enough time to slow down, causing them to collide with the door. If they somehow swerve away from it, they may run right into traffic.
Usually, it happens when a driver or passenger exits the car without warning. It’s worse when they do it right in the middle of traffic.
Dangers Of Dooring Accidents
Dooring accidents pose numerous risks to cyclists. The severity of the injuries depends on various factors, including your speed and level of protection at the moment of crashing. With little or no safety gear, the risk of debilitating injury and even death skyrockets.
Here are some injuries dooring victims may experience:
- Road rash
- Internal bleeding
- Brain injuries
- Neck and back damage
- Injuries to internal organs
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Damage to the face and jaw, including teeth
- Deep skin lacerations and serious bruising
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe nerve damage
- Head injuries
Dooring accidents often incur hefty medical bills due to the surgery, treatment, and rehabilitation needed to restore you to full function. Fortunately, you can get financial support through compensation.
An Austin personal injury lawyer (or one in your area) can identify your options and help you file claims. Such professionals ensure you get fair settlements for the damages you received.
Compensation For Dooring Injuries
Dooring accidents can occur due to negligence and recklessness. For this reason, you may claim compensation, which typically covers the following:
- Remuneration for repairing or replacing your bicycle or any other items damaged during the accident
- Medical expenses, both current and future
- Remuneration for pain and suffering
- Aid for temporary or permanent disability
If your loved one dies due to a dooring accident, you can file a wrongful death claim against the offender. In addition to receiving compensation for medical bills before death, you can also obtain support for funeral expenses and remuneration for loss of income.
How To Avoid Dooring Accidents
While there’s always a risk of getting in a dooring accident, you can mitigate it by taking some precautions as a cyclist.
Consider these tips:
1. Put On Reflective Clothing
Sometimes, dooring accidents occur due to motorists not seeing you as you approach, especially at night.
In this case, wearing reflective gear and bright clothes is vital to increase visibility. This way, when drivers and passengers can see you from a greater distance, they’ll give you more time to pass, decreasing the chances of a collision.
2. Always Have A Way To Signal Your Position
A bike bell or horn can save your life. Using these instruments easily alerts drivers or passengers to your presence whenever you maneuver around them.
3. Avoid The Door Zone
An easy way to avoid getting doored is to ride far away to the left (as in most countries).
Additionally, when riding alongside parked cars, consider sticking to the roadway. You may also take the lane or ride to the right when bike lanes aren’t available. Just ensure you’re safe from traffic and any obstacles in your way.
4. Always Be Alert
When approaching a parked car, check for any movement inside the vehicle. This will let you know if someone is about to open a door.
5. Ride At A Moderate Speed
Going too fast increases the chances of dooring accidents because your vision and reaction time are reduced.
In contrast, you can clearly see what’s happening in front of you at a low or moderate pace. You also get more time to gauge when to slow down and stop, which can help you avoid crashing into objects on the road.
Dooring Is A Real Risk
Like most accidents, dooring is beyond our control. However, you can reduce your risk of getting involved in a dooring accident for your continued safety as a cyclist.
Additionally, knowing what to do when you get involved in one should keep you from drowning in problems after an accident. Always consider claiming compensation whenever possible. You can hire a personal injury lawyer to help you with your claim’s legal aspects and make the process more seamless.