Many things drivers do in their cars can have tragic consequences:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Opening a car door
Wait – opening a car door? Yes. That’s because exiting a car is a danger to passing bicyclists, who could ride head-on into the door, suffering major injuries. These are calling “dooring crashes,” and they may be more common than you think:
- In 2011, the City of Chicago reported 344 cycling injuries – a fifth of all cycling injuries — were caused by dooring crashes.
- In 2003, dooring was blamed for 11.9 percent of cycling injuries in Toronto.
- Also in 2003, 8 percent of all serious injuries to London cyclists resulted from dooring collisions.
The Netherlands to the Rescue!
The Netherlands has one of the lowest bike fatality rates in the world. One safety tactic commonly employed is called “the Dutch Reach.” Motorists and passengers are encouraged to open their car door with their far hand. This results in them automatically turning their body, positioning their head so they are able to see approaching bicycles and other vehicles.
The technique is growing in popularity. It is included in the United Kingdom Department of Transport’s road-user rulebook and taught in many American driver education classes. Most recently, the ridesharing service Uber joined the safety crusade through a new feature, new videos and educational efforts to “raise awareness on the importance of bike safety.”
According to road safety product manager Kristin Smith, the company is launching a campaign to prevent “doorings.” Additionally, Uber has created an in-app safety feature – Bike Lane Alert – that tells users about bike lanes and shared roads. Lyft recently introduced a similar feature.
Seek medical attention, even if it seems minor
Unfortunately, new apps and safety behavior cannot protect bicyclists from motorists who drive recklessly. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, there were 1,279 bicycle accidents, including 24 fatalities and 1,182 injuries in the state in 2018.
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle crash, you’re likely facing a long recovery. You may even be crippled for life. You cannot afford to pay your bills or provide for your family. Meanwhile, the driver who injured you probably is denying responsibility and possibly blaming you. An insurance company will try to take advantage of your desperation, offering a financial settlement that comes nowhere near compensating you for your injuries, lost wages, and other expenses.
The Phoenix bike crash lawyers at Israel & Gerity, PLLC, have been handling cases just like yours since 2002. Get their experience on your side. They have knowledge of the state’s traffic laws and courts and will put their expertise to work for you, with a hands-on approach as you focus on your recovery. Contact them today for a free case consultation.