There’s a saying in the cycling community, “Watch out for the door prize.” But they are not talking about a gag gift or party favor. They’re referring to the unfortunate experience of getting “doored” by a driver’s opening car door as you cruise by the line of parked cars on your bicycle.
Make no mistake. Getting doored can cause a very serious cycling accident to occur. In fact, far too many riders all over the country have died as a result of getting doored.
How “dooring” injuries unfold
One minute you’re cruising along on your mountain bike enjoy the fine Colorado springtime weather. The next, you’re flying through the air after the impact of an opened car door knocks you into the lanes of traffic. If you wind up run over by a vehicle, that moment may be your last.
But you don’t even have to get struck by another motorist to lose your life after being doored by a driver. Cyclists who fail to ride wearing securely-fastened bike helmets can die from the serious brain injuries they suffer when their heads strike the pavement.
Even those who wind up surviving their door prize experience can wind up with catastrophic permanent injuries that can leave them in vegetative states and unable to perform even the most basic self-care activities. For many active cyclists in the community, that would be a fate even worse than death.
Riders, keep yourselves safer
Any time bicyclists ride in proximity to a line of parked cars they are at risk of suffering devastating dooring injuries. And while there is little they can do to prevent a driver from negligently opening their door and sending them sprawling, they can avoid putting themselves into harm’s way in the first place.
Riding as far left as you safely can in the bike lane can help you avoid being doored. Wearing a helmet can keep your brain from getting scrambled if you do take a tumble.
And when all else fails, after a serious bicycle injury caused by a negligent driver or other party, you can hold the at-fault person civilly liable for your injuries, lost wages and other associated damages.