‘Dooring’ is the term used when a passenger or driver of a vehicle opens their door without looking into the path of a cyclist, causing them to swerve out the way or collide with the door, suffering injury.
In 2019, there were 248 accidents involving vehicle doors being opened negligently, with 65 of those accidents resulting in serious injury and sadly four resulting in death.
Dooring accidents often involve more serious injuries when the cyclist has been thrown into traffic from being hit by the door. These secondary accidents can cause similar or even worse harm that just striking the door.
Who is at fault?
The Highway Code makes it clear that when a passenger or driver is opening their door, they must ensure that they do not hit anyone. The technique known as ‘Dutch Reach’ has been recommended at Rule 239 of the Highway Code, which involves opening the door with your opposite hand and twisting round to look behind before opening the door.
It is also an offence under the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations to ‘open, or cause or permit to be opened, any door of a vehicle on a road so as to injure or endanger any person’.
Note the use of ‘permit to be opened’. This means that that if a passenger in your vehicle opens their door causing a cyclist injury, the driver could still be held liable as it is their vehicle which has caused the injury. This would also apply where a child has been allowed to open the door when it was unsafe to do so.
Can a cyclist be at fault?
There are instances where a cyclist could be held partially at fault for a dooring accident, such as if they failed to notice the already open door when they had ample time to do so or when they have not exercised caution when travelling around parked vehicles.
Dooring accidents can cause very serious injuries for all involved. Essentially, the most important thing to do for drivers, passengers, and cyclists is to always stay vigilant when opening doors or cycling around them.
If you are a cyclist who has been involved in a dooring accident and suffered injuries as a result, you may be entitled to compensation. For a free, no obligation assessment of your case, please call Farleys’ personal injury team on 0845 287 0939, get in touch by email, or use the online chat below.