“Dooring” bicycle accidents and how to avoid them

A lot of bicycle accidents in Connecticut happen while cyclists are riding past parked cars. When the driver of a car opens their door to get out, they may not see a cyclist riding by. The next thing you know, the cyclist is smacked by the opening door and ends up on the ground.

How to avoid “dooring” accidents

As bicycles are becoming a more popular mode of transportation, it’s important to know how to avoid “dooring” accidents. With bike lanes on the outer edges of roads, bicyclists have no choice but to ride near parked cars. All bicyclists can really do to avoid “dooring” accidents is to be aware of the problem and stay alert to potential door openings.

Car drivers can do a lot to avoid “dooring” bicyclist accidents, like checking to make sure a bicycle isn’t coming and opening their door slowly and carefully. However, it may be easier to remember to check for bicycles if you use a little trick called the “Dutch Reach.”

How to do the “Dutch Reach”

The “Dutch Reach” is a cute name for the safety method that is taught to all drivers in the Netherlands, a nation where bicycles are more common than cars. When people go to driver’s education classes there, they learn to always open their driver’s side door with their right hand. Doing that reach every time you open your car door forces you to turn a little and look out your window. The “Dutch Reach” ensures that, if a bicycle is coming, you’ll see it before opening your door.

Liability for bicycle accidents

Drivers in the U.S. are not as used to sharing the road with bicycles as their counterparts in the Netherlands are. However, inexperience is no excuse for negligence. If you were severely injured from a bicycle-car collision, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.