Moving vehicles are not the only threats to bicyclists in New York. Parked cars present their own dangers, including the risk that a driver or passenger will open their door without looking and suddenly obstruct the bicyclist’s travel path, causing a crash. These scenarios are called “dooring” accidents and they injure hundreds of New Yorkers every year.
Dooring is such a frequent occurrence that both New York State and New York City have specific laws about it:
- State law — Under the Vehicle and Traffic Law, “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.”
- City law — The Rules of the City of New York provide, “No person shall get out of any vehicle from the side facing on the traveled part of the street in such manner as to interfere with the right of the operator of an approaching vehicle or a bicycle.”
Each of these laws make it a traffic violation for a driver or passenger to open a door abruptly into oncoming traffic or to leave a door open in a traffic area longer than needed for people to enter or exit the vehicle.
Besides getting cited for a violation, a vehicle occupant who doors a cyclist could be held liable for any injuries that result. An injured cyclist may seek compensation from the driver’s or passenger’s insurance company and, for serious injuries, may file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation.
Typical damages that may be recovered by cyclists in dooring accident cases include the following:
- Medical bills, including bills for immediate care and estimated costs of future surgeries and other treatments
- Current and future lost wages
- Disability or disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Repair or replacement of the bicycle and other personal property that was damaged or destroyed
In addition, if a bicyclist was killed in a dooring accident, their family members may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim against the person at fault, seeking compensation for any medical expenses incurred before death and also for funeral expenses, lost income and other damages.
The Brooklyn bicycle accident lawyers at Goldman Sager & Associates have experience representing bike riders injured in dooring accidents. We will fight for all the compensation that may be available to you from all sources. Please call 718-514-9516 or contact us online to set up a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys today.