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The Dangers of Bicycle Accidents Caused By "Dooring"

Posted on in Car Accidents

Milwaukee dooring injury lawyer

By Attorney Christopher Strohbehn and Law Clerk Jason Findling

“Dooring” is a type of traffic accident where a bicyclist crashes into an open car door while riding on the road or a bicycle path. Opening a car door without checking for bike riders may cause a cyclist to collide with the car door, fall from their bike, and be thrown into traffic. These types of traffic bicycle accidents often cause serious injuries to cyclists and can even result in death to a biker. So, it is crucial that car drivers and passengers pay attention to their surroundings when opening car doors in bike lanes or in any other situation where a bicyclist may be near their vehicle.

Wisconsin Law on Dooring

Under Wisconsin law, the person opening a car door is responsible for looking to see if a cyclist, pedestrian, or another motor vehicle will be hit by their car door if it is opened. While sometimes the cyclist is at fault, a court is more likely to conclude that the car occupant should have taken more precaution before opening their door. Because car drivers often have enough time to double-check for oncoming bike riders, car occupants need to ensure that opening their car door will not interfere with traffic or cause a crash.

Tips to Avoid Dooring and Other Bicycle Accidents for Motorists

The state of Wisconsin offers the following reminders to car drivers and passengers to minimize the chances of an accident with a bicycle:

  • Wisconsin law considers bicycles to be motor vehicles, so both are subject to the same traffic laws. Unless an ordinance states otherwise, bicycles should be operated on the road, not on the sidewalk, and therefore, a car’s occupants must be aware of bicycles around them.
  • Similar to vehicles, cyclists have to avoid potholes, sewer grates, and other obstructions, so car occupants should give cyclists enough space to steer around these hazards.
  • When passing a cyclist, allow at least three feet of space between your car and a bicyclist. But, this distance should be increased when traveling at high speeds.
  • Change car lanes to pass any bike traveling in a narrow lane; this helps bike riders avoid abrupt collisions with car doors and other vehicles on the road.
  • When turning left, be aware of fast-moving bicycles and motorcycles traveling in the opposite direction. Drivers should also scan the area on their right before passing through an intersection with a stoplight, stop sign, or crosswalk. 

Call a Milwaukee, WI Bicycle Accident Lawyer

As a cyclist, you have the same rights on the road as a motor vehicle driver. Wisconsin law is clear that drivers and passengers in cars must be on the lookout for cyclists, especially when opening car doors near bike riders. If you have been injured in a collision with a motor vehicle, you probably have serious injuries that require long term medical care and affect your ability to work. If this is the case, then you should avoid accepting an insurance quick settlement check, as it will probably not cover the costs of your injuries and medical treatment. Instead, to gain adequate compensation for your bike accident, you should speak to a trained Milwaukee bike accident attorney at Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP. Call us today at 414-271-1440.

 

Sources:

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/346/XIII/94/20/a

https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/safety/education/bike/rules.aspx

https://www.bikeleague.org/content/bike-law-u-dooring

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