dooring accidents

Cycling has become an increasingly popular mode of transportation in California, leading to a rise in the number of cyclists sharing the road with motor vehicles. Unfortunately, this increased interaction has also brought about a higher incidence of dooring accidents – collisions that occur when a car door is opened directly into the path of an oncoming cyclist. Determining liability in these accidents is crucial for ensuring fair compensation for injuries and damages.

California follows a comparative fault system, which means that liability for an accident can be distributed among multiple parties based on the degree of their respective negligence. In the context of dooring accidents, both drivers and cyclists may share some responsibility, depending on the circumstances of the incident. While drivers have a duty to exercise caution when exiting their vehicles, bicyclists also have a responsibility to follow the rules of the road. Bicyclists are expected to ride in designated bike lanes when available, signal their intentions and exercise caution when passing parked cars to minimize the risk of dooring accidents.

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), drivers are responsible for checking for oncoming traffic, including bicycles, before opening their car doors. The "Dutch Reach" technique, recommended by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), encourages drivers to use their far hand (the hand farthest from the door) when opening their car doors. This simple practice forces drivers to turn their body, making it easier to spot approaching cyclists in their periphery.

If a driver fails to check for oncoming cyclists and opens a door into the path of a bicyclist, they may be deemed negligent. On the other hand, if a cyclist is riding recklessly or fails to exercise caution around parked cars, they may also share some responsibility for the accident.

Navigating the roads as a cyclist in California requires an understanding of the state's fault system and the responsibilities of both drivers and bicyclists. If you find yourself involved in a dooring accident, it's essential to seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury firm to determine liability and pursue fair compensation for any injuries or damages incurred. 

The legal team at Favaro, Lavezzo, Gill, Caretti & Heppell, PC, a personal injury firm in Vallejo, is dedicated to helping victims of accidents throughout California navigate the legal process and obtain the compensation they deserve. Stay informed, ride safely, and know your rights on the road. Call {PHONE] or contact us online to schedule your consultation.