As a bicyclist, you understand the importance of keeping close tabs on motor vehicles that are in motion. However, this doesn’t mean you can overlook the potential danger of those that are already parked.

Dooring accidents are a real concern. If someone opens a car door into your lane of travel, it will cause you to make a split-second decision. And for that reason, there’s an increased risk of an accident.

According to California Vehicle Code 22517, individuals are prohibited from opening a door on the moving side of traffic unless they can safely do so and without interfering with the movement of traffic.

Despite this law, many people continue to make this serious mistake. They don’t do so on purpose, but instead open their door without considering the possible ramifications to others, including bicyclists.

Here are some of the steps you can take to protect against a dooring accident:

  • Be aware of your surroundings: For example, if you’re driving toward a stretch of road where vehicles line the side of it, use extra caution. When you know that someone could open a door into your path, you can prepare an escape route in advance.
  • Slow down: If you’re concerned about a dooring accident, slow down as to give yourself more time to prevent trouble.
  • Leave more space: When possible, leave additional space between your path of travel and parked cars. This way, even if someone does open their door, you’re able to quickly maneuver to prevent a head-on collision.

Dooring accidents have the potential to cause serious injury and even death. For example, you could hit a door head on, flip over it and land on your head. Even if you’re wearing a helmet, it can cause a traumatic brain injury, such as a fractured skull or bleeding on the brain.

If you’re injured in a dooring accident, stay where you are, call for help and receive treatment as soon as you can at a local hospital.

Once you have a clear understanding of your injuries and prognosis, revisit the accident with the idea of taking steps to protect your legal rights.