“Dooring” accidents are a type of traffic collision that takes place when a bicyclist or other road-user crashes into a motor vehicle’s open door. In some cases, these accidents are caused by a vehicle occupant failing to check for oncoming traffic before opening the car door. In other cases, the vehicle occupant may have negligently left the car door open. To avoid colliding with the door, bicyclists or motorists will sometimes quickly swerve to move out of the way. This sudden swerve may cause a secondary collision, as the bicyclist or motorist could potentially collide with another vehicle in the next lane over.
In the state of New York, dooring accidents have become such a prevalent issue that policymakers have developed laws designed to prevent them. According to the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, Sec. 1214:
- No one can open the door of a motor vehicle that faces moving traffic until it is reasonably safe to do so, and that door can be opened without interfering in the movement of other traffic.
- No one can leave the door of a motor vehicle that faces moving traffic open for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
Statistics show that dooring accidents accounted for almost a fifth of all bicyclist injuries in 2011. Additionally, eight bicyclists were killed in dooring accidents between 2006 and 2016 in New York City. Although laws have been written with the intent of reducing the incidence of dooring accidents, they are still a major point of concern for bicyclists within New York. Whether you are a motorist or a bicyclist, there are safety measures you can take to help reduce your risk of being involved in a dooring accident:
- Drivers – drivers are encouraged to practice the “Dutch Reach,” which is a special way of opening a car door. All you have to do is reach with the hand that is furthest from the door to open it. By reaching with your far hand to open your vehicle door, you are moving your body in a way that causes you to turn your head back and observe the traffic behind you. Of course, it is always prudent to check your rear and side-view mirrors for oncoming traffic before exiting a vehicle, but practicing the Dutch Reach is a good way to ensure that you absolutely do so.
- Passengers – passengers are always advised to exit curb-side only, and to never exit from a vehicle that is paused in a travel lane. Make sure that the vehicle is parked in the appropriate lane before opening the door to exit.
- Bicyclists – it is generally advised that cyclists maintain a safe distance from vehicles, ideally enough to accommodate an open door. A distance of 1.5 meters is usually enough to avoid a collision.
Contact a New York Dooring Accident Attorney
In areas where traffic volumes are high, being involved in a dooring accident can be devastating for a bicyclist. In fact, it can even be fatal. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a dooring accident, contact Hach & Rose, LLP to speak with an experience New York bike accident lawyer at (212) 779-0057 today.
On July 25, 2019, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio released the $58.4 million “Green Wave: A Plan for Cycling in New York City.” Just four days later, Streetsblog New York City reported that the death of a 30-year-old bicyclist near the intersection of Third Avenue and 36th Street was the 18th cyclist fatality of the year, one year after the New York Police Department (NYPD) reported that 24 bicyclists were killed in crashes involving motor vehicles.
The plan stated that since the adoption of Vision Zero in 2014, New York City increased the miles of bicycle lanes to 1,243, including 83 miles of protected lanes. The average of 62 miles of bicycle lanes added a year for the past three years was the largest increase in the country.
The Green Wave plan calls for 30 miles of protected bike lanes to be built annually, an increase from the current rate of approximately 20. The plan also seeks to build 75 miles of bicycle infrastructure in 10 Bicycle Priority Districts (seven in Brooklyn and three in Queens) by 2022, and to have one of every 10 trips in New York City be taken by bicycle by 2050.
The plan states that the Department of Transportation (DOT) will install more than 20 miles of protected bike lanes in all five boroughs in 2019. There will be a goal of 75 miles total in Bicycle Priority Districts by 2022.
The Green Wave plan also called for immediate actions such as doubling the current Citi Bike service area by 35 miles and tripling the number of bikes to 40,000 by 2023 (the plan stated that Citi Bike is the largest bike-share system in the country, with 82 million Citi Bike trips since its launch and a record of 85,000 trips per day). The borough-wide dockless bike-share on Staten Island will be launched in 2019, and the city will increase its annual target of protected bike lanes (PBLs) from 10 PBL lane miles to 30 PBL lane miles. Overall, the city seeks to install more than 80 miles of protected bike lanes by the end of 2021.
The name Green Wave is derived from the event in which traffic lights are coordinated to allow people to pass over multiple intersections without stopping because of multiple green lights, but such light patterns are customarily more tailored to motor vehicles traveling at much faster speeds than bicycles. The DOT will experiment with a green wave for bicyclists that may help reduce the number of red-light crashes in the city.
The plan also states that DOT will implement traffic calming treatments at 50 intersections with a high number of bike injuries in 2019. The NYPD will also extend elevated enforcement of blocked bike lanes and hazardous driving violations, while cyclists will no longer be ticketed after fatal crashes.
Contact Hach & Rose, LLP for Help
Were you hurt in an accident as a cyclist in New York? If so, you could be owed significant compensation if your injuries were caused by a negligent motorist, defective bike part, or defective road condition. To get the full compensation you’re owed, be sure to contact Hach & Rose, LLP at (212) 779-0057 to speak with one of our experienced NYC bike accident lawyers right away.
Phelps, NY (July 3, 2019) – A man is currently in critical condition after being hit by a pickup truck while riding a bicycle in the town of Phelps. The accident was reported to have taken place around 9:15 a.m. on Sunday morning, June 30th, on County Route 23, just west of Jones Road, according to authorities.
Levittown, NY (July 1, 2019) – A 13-year-old boy was tragically struck and killed by a motor vehicle while riding his bike on Hempstead Turnpike in the Levittown on Sunday evening, June 30th. Authorities have not specified the exact time of the incident but it was reported to have happened sometime around 6:00 p.m.
Brooklyn, NY (July 1, 2019) – A 29-year-old woman was reported to have been riding a bicycle when she was fatally hit by a cement truck in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. The tragic accident was stated to have happened around 12:00 p.m. at the intersection of Boerum Street and Bushwick Avenue.
Levittown, NY (June 30, 2019) – Early this evening around 6:00 p.m. on June 30th, a 12-year-old was seriously injured in a bicycle accident on the Hempstead Bethpage Turnpike. (more…)
Brooklyn, NY (June 28, 2019) – According to police, a bicyclist was tragically struck and killed in yet another fatal bike accident in New York City. The crash was reported to have occurred around 9:00 p.m. in the vicinity of Chester Street and Shutter Avenue in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn.
Naples, NY (June 26, 2019) – Police have released the identity of the teenage boy was airlifted to the hospital after a crash on his bicycle on Tuesday afternoon, June 25th. Authorities stated that 16-year-old Ethan Friend sustained serious injuries in the accident, which happened along State Route 245 in the town of Naples.
Naples, NY (June 26, 2019) – After being ejected from his bicycle, a 16-year-old was hospitalized on Tuesday afternoon, June 25th. The incident took place around 1:00 p.m. along State Route 245 in the town of Naples.
Chelsea, Manhattan, NY (June 25, 2019) – Authorities have released the identity of the young woman who was tragically struck and killed while riding a bike in Chelsea on Monday morning, June 24th. Police have stated that Robyn Hightman, 20, was killed after she was hit by a delivery truck on 6th Avenue, in the vicinity of West 23rd and West 24th Streets.
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