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Liability when a cyclist hits a car door

It’s been shown in countless movies and television shows. A bicyclist is zooming down the sidewalk or bicycle lane, when all the sudden the passenger or driver of a parked car opens their door. The cyclist hits it, flips over and lands on their back. Often, a laugh tracks plays as the cyclist gets up and dusts themselves off, a little shaken and dismayed at their ruined bike. Unfortunately, this type of accident is generally much more serious than what is seen on the silver screen.

Nearly 10 percent of all bicycle accidents are due to a car door opening. The cyclist either hits it or swerves to dodge it, causing some other kind of bicycle accident. While only 80 percent of these accidents result in injury, as opposed to the more than 90 percent injury rate for other bicycle accidents, they can still be quite dangerous. The most serious accidents of this type occur when the bicyclist hits another car while trying to avoid the opened door.  

More often than not, the person in the car who opened the door will be held liable for the accident. Motorists are obligated to give bicyclists and other pedestrians right-of-way, and therefore must check their surroundings before opening the door. Sometimes the motorist could contend that, on an empty street, the cyclist could have avoided the door, but this is not always a solid defense.

Connecticut roads are often full of cyclists. Unfortunately, this means a higher risk of bicycle accidents occurring. An experienced attorney may be able to provide counsel and/or representation for any cyclist who has been “doored” by a motorist. 

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