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Who is Liable if a Bicyclist Gets Doored?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Riding your bicycle in a city is filled with many dangers. Many drivers do not yet know how to share the road with cyclists, meaning that the rider has more to worry about than your average motorist. However, while cyclists need to mind motorists and pedestrians, they also need to pay attention to the point where motorists are about to become a pedestrian – when they leave their car.

Riding along a line of parked cars is always a major worry. One car door opening immediately in front of a cyclist can make it dangerous to dodge and difficult to stop. However, for the cyclist that actually does get doored, who is at fault?

Traffic laws for cyclist require them to ride in the bike lane if available or to the right of traffic. Both circumstances will put them very close to parked cars, with bike lanes typically giving them a little more clearance. However, it is not so completely uncommon for drivers to park in a way that leaves their car in the bicycle lane as well. This makes things frustrating and dangerous. However, one thing is for certain, in most cases if a cyclist gets doored, the motorist is responsible.

Part of a driver's rules of the road states that before opening a car door, they need to check if it is safe to do so. While a driver can argue that a cyclist should have been able to dodge if there was no traffic, and thus contributed to the accident, that is not always valid. There is no denying the rules that state a driver needs to check their mirrors to make sure the door zone is clear before opening.

If you have been in a bicycle accident, regardless of if you are the driver or the cyclist, contact us today. By examining the details on a case-by-case basis, the Law Office of Freeman & Freeman can help make sure that you aren't stuck with the bill.


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From our offices in Woodland Hills, California, Freeman & Freeman, LLP, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the state, including those in Burbank, Glendale, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Santa Clarita, Agoura Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Alhambra.