Riding a bicycle in Maricopa County is a legal, efficient, and often fun means of transportation for riders of all ages. Yet despite the benefits of bicycling in the Phoenix area, many who drive cars or other vehicles continue to ignore the rights of cyclists, placing the safety of cyclists and even other motorists at risk by their actions.
It is the duty of every driver to act in a safe and reasonable manner while behind the wheel but on a daily basis, there are drivers on the roadways who do not look for bicycles or otherwise act in a threatening manner when a bicycle is nearby. This increases the odds that a bicycle collision will occur and with any crash comes the very real possibility that someone will suffer harm as a result.
In 2013, there were 1,679 bicyclists who were injured in traffic-related accidents in Arizona alone, a significant number that averages out to approximately 4.6 injuries every single day. Unfortunately, a large portion of those victims were in the greater Phoenix area at the time of their accident due to the Valley’s large population of riders, large number of motorists, and overall safety issues that permeate both types of transit. One type of collision that continues to rise in numbers is a bicycle dooring accident.
Put simply, a dooring incident happens when a vehicle’s door is opened into the oncoming path of a bicyclist, causing that rider to strike the open door. Often this occurs if someone is using a cab and exits the cab on the street side instead of on the curb side of the car but it can also take place if a motorist parallel parks on a street and tries to exit her car. Regardless, it is critical to know that it is the duty of a driver or a passenger to make sure there is no oncoming traffic, including bicycle traffic, before opening a vehicle’s door. Failing to do so may be negligent conduct and may trigger legal liability on the part of the person who opened the door, potentially holding that individual liable for any injuries sustained by a cyclist who was doored.
Each year, Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler, Scottsdale, and other areas review the bicycle-related traffic accidents that happen within their borders in an attempt to improve safety for everyone. Recently, steps have been taken in some areas to create bicycle lanes or to better mark roads where cyclists can share space with vehicles to decrease the odds of a crash. Simultaneous, efforts have been made to improve the awareness of motorists to the laws that govern their conduct related to cyclists and to remind those drivers to watch out for oncoming bicycle traffic at any time.
Yet bicycle dooring accidents keep happening annually and continue to cause injuries that leave victims with significant economic hardships. Until every motorist acts with safety in mind first, these incidents will keep happening and will affect our community and its citizens, causing an increased demand on medical services, forcing employees to miss work while they recover from their injuries, and even limiting the ability of providers to care for their children and families.
If you were involved in a dooring accident in Phoenix or elsewhere in Arizona, call the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. today and let us help you understand whether you are entitled to financial compensation for your injuries. There is no charge for speaking with us and you are under no obligation by taking advantage of a free case consultation from one of our lawyers. Further, if we represent you in your case, we will never charge you a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf and we will advance all case-related expenses.
If you have questions or if you need help following a bike accident, call Abels & Annes, P.C. today and let us get to work for you.
Prior Blog Entry:
Drowsiness Alert: Reducing Phoenix Car Accidents, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published November 30, 2015.