Car Doors: Leading Cause of Bike Accidents

Riding a bicycle in Atlanta can be an enjoyable activity. However, sometimes it can be a dangerous one. We have all seen newspaper headlines about motorists opening their car doors, only to hit passing bicyclists. Most of the time, a bicyclist doesn't have enough time to swerve out of the way of a car door. Even if the bicyclist can move out of the way, he or she would most likely swerve into traffic, which could lead to a serious Georgia bicycle and car crash. Typically, when a car door opens in the way of a bicyclist's path, the cyclist will suffer from serious injuries.

Several situations can occur when a bicyclist faces an open car door:

  • A cyclist can swerve; however, will typically lose control and ride into traffic.
  • A cyclist is hit by an opening car door, getting knocked off balance and falling.
  • A cyclist rides into a car door, which sends the rider over the handle bars and into traffic.

Bicyclists are not supposed to ride too close to parked cars. However, sometimes it is impossible for a cyclist to see a driver getting ready to swing open the car door. Many times, drivers will pull up to their locations, park their cars, and finish their phone conversations before getting out.

In these situations, approaching cyclists are not going to know that there is a driver in a parked car getting ready to exit. Just as it is important for bicycle riders to be aware of their surroundings, it is also important for motorists to be on the lookout for cyclists before they open their car doors.

Georgia Code §40-6-243 states that:

"No person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers."

Both motorists and cyclists share the responsibility of looking out for one another. However, motorists are typically blamed more often for suddenly swinging their car doors open into the path of a cyclist. When this happens, a cyclist can be knocked off a bike and into the path of moving traffic. Because these situations occur quickly, there isn't time for the cyclist or other drivers to stop. Serious injuries occur to bicycle riders when motorist unsafely exit their vehicles.

Injuries from bicycle accidents include the following:

  • Crushed pelvis
  • Broken collar bone
  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries
  • Ripped rotator cuff
  • Facial lacerations
  • Paralysis (quadriplegia, paraplegia)
  • Death

If you believe that a driver negligently opened a car door and caused you to sustain injuries, then you may be able to get compensation for the injuries you suffered. Contact a knowledgeable Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer at Kalka & Baer LLC at (404) 907-1594 immediately after your Georgia bicycle accident. Also, you can visit our website and receive a FREE copy of attorney Tony Kalka's book, Sharing the Road and Surviving the Crash.