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Dooring – What’s the Law in Texas and How to Avoid It

Posted on April 20, 2022 Bicycle Accident

Most people imagine a moving vehicle striking a bicyclist when they picture a bicycle accident. However, some of the most serious bicycle accidents in Texas happen when a car is parked. Dooring occurs when a driver opens a car door without paying attention to oncoming bicycle traffic – resulting in a biker striking the door and being propelled off of the bike. Dooring can cause serious injuries, such as broken bones and brain injuries. If you were injured in a dooring accident in Texas, you may be entitled to financial compensation.

How Do Dooring Accidents Happen?

Dooring is the outcome of a motor vehicle occupant failing to check for cyclists before opening a car door when parked in a place that gets bicycle traffic, such as a parking spot that is adjacent to a bicycle lane. If a driver is parked someplace where a bicyclist can ride directly next to the vehicle, he or she has a responsibility to check for oncoming bikers before opening the door. Failing to do so can result in a bicycle rider hitting the open door without being able to stop in time.

Does Texas Have Any Laws Against Dooring?

Yes. Texas has a specific law in place regarding dooring in Section 545.418 of the Texas Transportation Code. This law states that a person may not open the door of a motor vehicle unless it can be done so in reasonable safety and without interfering with the movement of other traffic if the door is on the side of the road available to traffic. It also prohibits leaving the door of a vehicle open for longer than is necessary to load or unload a passenger if the door opens on the side next to moving traffic.

If a motor vehicle driver or passenger fails to obey this law or make a reasonable effort to prevent dooring, he or she can be held financially responsible for a resultant bicycle accident. The at-fault driver must pay for a cyclist’s medical bills and property repairs suffered in the accident. Proof that the individual broke Texas’s dooring laws can be enough to establish his or her liability for the crash.

Tips for Avoiding a Dooring Accident

Although the legal responsibility to prevent a dooring accident rests with drivers and motor vehicle occupants, both motorists and bicyclists in Texas can take steps to reduce the risk of this type of crash. Use these tips as either a driver or cyclist in Dallas.

For drivers:

  • Never park in the middle of a bicycle lane, even temporarily.
  • Before you open your door, look in your side and rear view mirrors to check for oncoming cyclists.
  • Open the door with the hand that is furthest away from the door to force yourself to look over your shoulder for bikers.
  • Slowly open the vehicle door when it is safe to do so, and only enough to exit. Do not fling your door open.
  • Close the door as quickly as possible once you’ve exited the vehicle.

For bicyclists:

  • Ride a safe distance away from parked vehicles (at least three feet).
  • Don’t weave in and out of parked cars.
  • Be vigilant and pay attention to the behavior and movements of vehicle occupants.
  • Make eye contact with a driver you’re interacting with before proceeding.
  • Wear colorful or reflective clothing to increase your visibility to drivers.
  • Turn on your headlamp if you’re riding your bicycle between dusk and dawn.

You may have the power to prevent dooring or being doored as a roadway user in Texas. If you find yourself involved in this type of accident despite your best efforts to avoid it, contact a bicycle accident attorney in Dallas for assistance. You may be eligible for financial compensation from the driver’s car insurance company.