by Anu Bakshi
Known commonly as ‘dooring’ or simply being ‘doored’, is a very hazardous accident that generates fear amongst cyclists, especially in a city with as much traffic as Toronto. ‘Dooring’ occurs when a driver of a parked vehicle opens the door in the path of a cyclist. Either the cyclist or the bike or both is hit, knocking the rider off his or her bike very often close to moving traffic. This is a very scary experience that often leads to severe injury. As more and more people are taking to their bikes as a method of transportation, ‘dooring’ incidents are becoming more and more common. The consequences of a ‘dooring’ accident can be devastating; however, the impact can be easier to deal with if you know your rights and receive the available compensation such as income replacement benefits, attendant care benefits and medical rehab benefit.
‘Dooring’ can be considered a motor vehicle accident under the law and as such offers protection to cyclists when injuries are suffered. Despite the fact the police will not record the incident, as a cyclist you have rights when you are ‘doored’. Many times, when a motorist and cyclist cross paths it is the cyclist that bears the brunt of the exchange and ‘dooring’ is perhaps the worst type of accident simply because it is unexpected and in such proximity to moving traffic. ‘Dooring’ has the potential to cause severe injuries and even death. An injury such as concussion, dislocated shoulder, broken arm or knee cap could have a debilitating effect on you, your family and your working ability.
If you are ‘doored’ while riding your bike you must treat it as though you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident which means if you are able to, immediately after the accident occurs, you must obtain the drivers information at the scene. Be sure to get the drivers name, the name of the owner of the vehicle and the make and license plate number.
Crucially, you must take the drivers insurance information including the policy number. Obtaining the insurance policy information will allow you to make a claim under the offenders insurance. If you have your own auto insurance, you may be able to make a claim under your own coverage. If you do not have auto insurance, you can access the owner’s insurance that ‘doored’ you and have his or her coverage take care of the cost of your injuries.
It is vitally important that all cyclists know and understand that you have rights and are able to recover the cost of your injury in a ‘dooring’ accident. If you are ‘doored’ take the necessary steps to ensure that you and your family are protected.
For more information about your rights as a cyclict and what to do in case you are injured in a ‘dooring’ accident or any accident involving a motor vehicle contact Anu Bakshi at Carranza LLP.