It often occurs unexpectedly. There’s little room for evasion, and your options are limited. In those instances, there is little for you to do except brace for impact.
“Dooring” refers to a traffic collision in which the door of a parked vehicle is opened suddenly into the path of an oncoming cyclist or another road user, such as a motorcyclist or a scooter rider. This often happens when the person inside the parked vehicle, usually the driver or a passenger, opens the door without checking for approaching traffic. The term “dooring” is derived from the action of opening a door into the path of an oncoming vehicle or cyclist.
Few occurrences are as challenging to foresee as a driver opening the door of a parked vehicle precisely when you’re passing by. As a bicyclist (or other road user), it is important to know that dooring is always a possibility when driving alongside parked cars. In Kansas City, it happens most often on crowded streets where cars line each side of the narrow roadways in the downtown or business area.
What are Missouri’s laws on dooring?
According to Missouri law Title XIX, Chapter 300 §340, “No person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a motor vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.”
Dooring incidents are not limited to just cyclists; they also pose risks to motorcyclists, moped riders, joggers, and pedestrians, as well as drivers and passengers of cars, trucks, and buses. In addition to endangering others, those who open vehicle doors without proper caution can put themselves at risk of injury, fatalities, or property damage. They may also face consequences like traffic fines, insurance penalties, lawsuits, license suspension or revocation, job loss, and even criminal charges.
What are common dooring injuries?
Dooring accidents can cause a range of injuries to cyclists and other road users who are unfortunate enough to be in the path of an opening car door. These injuries can vary in severity but can have significant physical, emotional, and financial consequences.
Some of the most common dooring injuries include:
- Cuts and abrasions. When a cyclist collides with an open car door, they may suffer cuts, scrapes, and abrasions. These injuries, while generally less severe, can still be painful and require medical attention.
- Contusions and bruises: Impact with a car door can lead to contusions and bruises, often on the arms, legs, or torso. While these injuries are typically not life-threatening, they can be painful and may require medical evaluation.
- Fractures and dislocations: Dooring accidents can result in fractures (broken bones) and dislocations. Commonly affected areas include the wrists, arms, shoulders, and collarbones. Fractures and dislocations can be painful and may necessitate surgery and extended rehabilitation.
- Head injuries: Cyclists who are thrown off their bikes during a dooring accident may suffer head injuries, even if they are wearing helmets. These injuries can range from mild concussions to more severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which can have long-term consequences.
- Spinal injuries: The force of a dooring incident can lead to spinal injuries, including damage to the vertebrae, spinal cord, or nerves. Depending on the severity, these injuries can result in partial or complete paralysis and require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation.
- Internal injuries: The impact from a dooring accident can cause internal injuries, such as organ damage or internal bleeding. These injuries may not be immediately visible and may require urgent medical attention.
- Dental and facial injuries: A cyclist thrown into the open door can suffer dental and facial injuries, including fractures, lacerations, and damage to teeth. These injuries may require oral and maxillofacial surgery for treatment.
- Fatalities: Dooring accidents can be fatal. Severe injuries sustained in a dooring incident, such as head trauma or spinal injuries, can lead to fatalities.
It’s essential to note that the severity of injuries can vary widely depending on factors like the speed of the cyclist, the angle of impact, and the use of protective gear. To reduce the risk of dooring injuries, both drivers and cyclists should exercise caution and awareness when sharing the road. Additionally, improving infrastructure, such as dedicated bike lanes with barriers between parked cars and cyclists, can help prevent these types of accidents.
If you have been injured in a dooring accident, you should seek out the assistance of a personal injury attorney. At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we will make you our priority. We will assist in gathering evidence to support your case, and work to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your medical treatment, financial losses, and pain and suffering. If you have been in an accident, call or contact us to schedule a free consultation. Our attorneys can meet with you anytime at our office in Kansas City, MO, or you can schedule an appointment at our offices in Lee’s Summit, Parkville and St. Joseph (MO); Olathe, Kansas City, and Overland Park (KS).
Kansas City personal injury attorney James Roswold of Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys handles cases dealing with victims of personal injury, medical negligence, wrongful death, workers compensation, nursing home negligence, premises liability, product liability, car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases.