The summer season is officially in full effect, and Pennsylvanians are naturally itching to get outside. For many, a bike ride is the perfect way to enjoy the warm weather. But among the small joys this activity offers, danger also lurks. One threat that cyclists may not be aware of is something called dooring. While the name sounds innocuous, dooring incidents can be disastrous for those traveling on a bike.
What Is Dooring?
As the name implies, dooring is when a motorist parked along the side of a road opens their door to exit their vehicle, cutting off the path of a cyclist or other road user. When drivers or car passengers open their doors without checking their surroundings, cyclists have two choices: swerve into traffic or collide with the open door and the people exiting the vehicle. They may have only a split second to make a decision, but either way, the damage is likely to be catastrophic.
Injuries that commonly result from dooring include:
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
Helmet use has been shown to reduce the risk of TBIs in dooring accidents significantly. Less than one percent of dooring accidents are fatal.
What To Do If You Get Doored
The first thing to do after a dooring is to call the police. Ask the driver to stay on the scene until they arrive. Get the driver’s license and insurance information, including their name, address, date of birth and insurance policy number. If the driver leaves, note the driver’s physical description, the vehicle’s description, the car’s license plate number and what state the plate was issued in. If there were any witnesses to the accident, request that they stay on-scene too.
When the police arrive, explain what happened and request that they fill out an incident report. Keep track of the officers’ names and badge numbers. If there were witnesses and they waited for the police to come, have them speak to the officers and describe what they saw.
Of course, only do the things mentioned above if you can. If you’re seriously injured, getting immediate medical attention is paramount. But even if you don’t seem hurt, go to the hospital for an evaluation. Internal injuries and TBIs could be present without being immediately apparent. Make sure to keep a record of any care you receive.
Finally, consult an experienced personal injury attorney about your accident. A legal professional can help you explore potential options for holding a negligent driver accountable and getting compensation to aid your recovery.