What is Dooring and How Can it Be Prevented?

If you are a bicycle rider, whether for recreation or for regular transportation, you know there are risks involved. Regardless of how safely you ride, you cannot predict the actions and behaviors of other drivers.

During the latest reporting year in Oregon, there were nearly 800 bicycle crashes. These led to 10 fatalities and 754 injuries. As you can see based on those numbers, nearly every bicycle crash leads to an injury or fatality. Bicyclists simply do not have much protection from an impact with a vehicle. One cause of injuries is called dooring, and we want to discuss this with you today.

What is Dooring and How Can it Be Prevented?

What does “dooring” mean?

As the name suggests, dooring happens when a cyclist is injured by a car door. If you are a bike rider, you have probably thought about all of the various ways you can get hurt, but getting injured by a car’s door may not be high on your list of possibilities. However, it happens, and it can cause catastrophic injuries for a bicyclist.

Dooring incidents can happen in a variety of ways.

  • A vehicle driver or passenger opens a door while stopped (or moving) on the roadway and causes a bicyclist to slam into the door. This can happen with an oncoming cyclist or one moving the same direction as the vehicle.
  • A vehicle driver or passenger opens a door in front of an oncoming cyclist while parked.

Bicyclists are usually good at avoiding potential hazards, but doors opening happen quickly and are unpredictable. A cyclist usually cannot avoid a crash without swerving into traffic. They are left with two bad options – enter traffic or slam into the door. Either option will lead to injuries.

What kind of injuries can be caused by dooring in Oregon?

Bicyclists have little protection from a crash. Even when a cyclist is wearing a helmet, they can sustain serious injuries. We commonly see the following dooring injuries:

  • Broken and dislocated bones
  • Severe lacerations
  • Internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Concussions

In many dooring cases across the country, a cyclist dies due to their injuries. Looking at the list above, you can see that many injured cyclists need extensive medical care in order to make a recovery. It is not uncommon for a dooring injury to lead to disabilities that keep them from working and losing the income they need to support themselves and their families. Many victims suffer from long-lasting pain and suffering and in need of extended care.

Some tips to avoid being doored

There are some things you can do as a bicyclist to avoid being doored. This includes:

  • Riding only in designated bike lanes if available
  • Ride at least three feet away from the sides of parked cars
  • Travel past parked or slow-moving care slowly
  • Be vigilant and look for people who may be about to exit their vehicle

In most jurisdictions, it is illegal to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk. Remember, we want to keep pedestrians safe as well.

Motorists should also be aware of their surrounds and should be careful when opening their doors.

  • Check oncoming traffic before opening your door
  • Open your door slowly so a bicyclist can see you are doing so

If you are involved in a dooring accident that caused you harm, do not hesitate to speak with a qualified Portland bicycle accident attorney.