Authorities in Cambridge, MA conducted an accident reconstruction of a collision which killed a 27-year old female bicyclist. Amanda Phillips was traveling down Cambridge Street when she struck an open car door which pushed her in front of a moving landscaping truck. Bicyclists use the term “dooring” to refer to a situation where someone opens a car door in front of an approaching cyclist. The results can be serious injuries—and even death.
The “Door Zone”
Analysts refer to an area upon the road as the “door zone”. This is the region (distance) from the edge of parked cars to the point where a car door extends when fully opened. Another term, which refers to a cautionary measure, is the “dutch reach” This means drivers should open the door when exiting with their right hand, which more naturally provides a clear line of sight to recognize approaching vehicles.
City of Boulder Bike Lanes
Boulder implemented parking-protected bicycle lanes along University Avenue, but they have led to more problems. The city had difficulty clearing snow and ice, drivers often entered the lanes, and visibility was obstructed by parked cars. As accidents increased, the city has is reverted to using buffered bike lanes, with the parking lane at the curb. These lanes use stripes of paint instead of physical dividers.
Denver Report: Same-Directions Crashes
Same-direction crashes are collisions involving motorists and bicyclists moving the same way. Last year, roughly 57% of the total of 157 such incidents resulted in injuries. They classify these accidents in three categories:
- 2A Sideswipe: Typically from veering out of a lane or making lane changes
- 2B Rear End: Motorist hits rear end of a bicycle (or vice versa) which usually occurs after sudden braking
- 2C Dooring: Motorist opens car door in front of approaching cyclist
Denver implemented shared lane markings, referred to as sharrows, or markings on the pavement along road and bikeways. Sharrows remind drivers that bicycles may be present and show cyclists where to travel to avoid car door zones. Using painted buffers indicating a separation between parking spaces and bicycle traffic, have proved successful.
Denver City Ordinances
Denver's Ordinance #54-415 makes it unlawful to open a car door in the path of emerging vehicles. Ordinance #54-416 makes it unlawful to leave car doors open in lanes of travel while a vehicle is stopped. This applies regardless of whether the car is attended or not.
Colorado Related Law
Statute 42-4-1207 makes it unlawful to open vehicle doors on the side with moving traffic until it can be done safely. Opening the door should not impede traffic flow, and it should closed after exiting or entering the vehicle. A violation of the provision constitutes a Class B vehicle infraction.
If a negligent driver has caused you a serious injury, you owe it to yourself to seek experienced legal counsel. The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal will hold those parties responsible for providing financial retribution. Contact the office today at (303) 825-2223 to discuss your case.