Those who cycle in New York are aware of the dangers they face every day when they get on their bikes. However, this does not mean it is feasible or reasonable to expect people to stop riding bicycles or motorcycles. Cyclists can increase their safety a great deal by being aware of the numerous hazards surrounding them, but the bulk of the responsibility for keeping cyclists safe falls to motor vehicle drivers.
“Dooring” is a significant danger posed to bicyclists and motorcyclists, especially in congested areas like the Bronx. The League of American Bicyclists explains that dooring is a type of accident involving the driver of a car or truck opening a door as a cyclist is approaching. Cyclists rarely have time to avoid a collision with the door or nearby traffic in these incidents, which creates a life-threatening situation.
Tragic Sunset Park accident is first New York dooring crash of 2019
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported on an accident that occurred this past New Year’s Day. A taxi driver opened his door without noticing the approaching cyclist and knocked him off his e-bike into oncoming traffic. A car struck and killed him. Authorities say there was no dedicated area for cyclists to ride on that stretch of road, which may have contributed to the cyclist’s danger.
Dooring is prevalent around the world
Since 2012, dooring crashes killed six bicyclists in New York City in dooring crashes, but dooring accidents are not only common in urban American cities. An Australian study revealed that 17.6% of incidents involving drivers and bicyclists included the driver opening a vehicle door. There are laws in New York meant to protect cyclists and place responsibility for an accident on the driver who opens the door. Drivers are required to leave doors open for a minimal amount of time and to use caution when unloading and loading their vehicles.
Bicyclists and motorcycles who sustain injuries due to negligent drivers may be eligible for the compensation of their medical expenses.