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Bicyclists need to be aware of “dooring” risk

Sioux Falls bicycle accident attorneysWith more and more Sioux Falls residents choosing a bicycle as their preferred mode of transportation, both riders and drivers need to take extra precautions to ensure safety for all.

Knowing the rules of the road and sharing the road are the two biggest ways to be safe, but it’s the small details, such as checking the road before opening your car door, that can make the biggest difference.

“Doorings” – hitting a cyclist on the road by opening a vehicle door -- is a real thing. It’s become such a big concern that Uber recently wrote about it on its blog and the company is launching a campaign to teach riders how to avoid doorings.

Bicycle collisions caused by car doors opening can happen unexpectedly and give bicyclists little time to react. What's worse, bicyclists are often unable to evade dooring crashes on narrow streets.

According to Venture Beat, Uber is also piloting an in-app safety feature called Bike Lane Alert that utilizes publicly available mapping to warn bicyclists about bike lanes and shared roads.

Dooring incidents on the rise

That’s good news for the estimated 2 billion bicyclists worldwide. In 2011, the City of Chicago reported that 344 cycling injuries — a fifth of all cycling injuries reported that year — were caused by crashes involving obstacles created by the unexpected opening of a car door. In 2003, dooring was the cause of 11.9 percent of all cycling injuries registered in Toronto, and that same year 8 percent of all serious injuries to London cyclists were the result of a collision with a car door.

There are some indications that the increase in bicyclist deaths correspond with an increase in the number of cyclists overall, but the data is limited.

The Dutch Reach

So what is the solution? Traffic experts emphasize prevention and education. Every driving school graduate should get out of a car with the automatic routine of glancing in the rear-view mirror to look for cars, motorbikes, and cyclists coming from behind, and making sure by looking over the shoulder before getting out of the car. This is part of what is call the "Dutch Reach," which advises both drivers and passengers to open the door with the far hand. This movement will inevitably make them turn their head and check the situation directly behind the car.

What to do if you’re the victim of a dooring

If you are a Sioux Falls bicyclist who was injured by an open vehicle door while sharing the road, or involved in any other type of crash, the legal team at Northern Plains Justice, LLP can help you understand your rights and what compensation you may be entitled to. We investigate all types of bicycle crashes and work tirelessly to help injured parties recover damages. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

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