As of December 2019, New Jersey doesn’t have an anti-dooring law, leaving many cyclists with more risk to the dreaded and dangerous dooring accident. A dooring incident happens when an occupant of a vehicle opens their door into the path of a cyclist who is unable to avoid a collision. This can cause serious injury or death to the cyclist.
Most states have laws that prohibit an occupant of a motor vehicle to open their door into the path of a cyclist; however, the New Jersey legislature has yet to pass one. In 2015, a bill was proposed that would have addressed this issue, but it didn’t get approved by the legislature.
Types of Dooring Accidents
A dooring can happen in a variety of circumstances where a cyclist is riding close enough to a motor vehicle that an open door can impede the path of the bike.
- Right Side of the Road: The most common is when a cyclist is riding on the right-hand side of the right lane of a city street and cars are parked or stopped along the street between where the cyclist is riding and the curb. Then someone exits a car and injures a cyclist.
- Bike Lane: Many times, a bike lane is constructed next to a row of parking stalls either between the lane and the curb or even in cases where the bike lane is between a row of stalls and the curb.
- Curbside Drop-Off Pick-Up: When delivery trucks, rideshare vehicles, taxicabs or any passenger vehicle stops along the curb to let someone off, if a cyclist is riding near the vehicle, a dooring can happen.
Civil Liability and Dooring Laws
Just because New Jersey doesn’t have a dooring law, it doesn’t mean that car occupants are exempt from liability if they injure a bicyclist with their door. In fact, New Jersey civil law requires that everyone gives due caution to those traveling, walking or riding in the city.
If a court decides that by opening a car door, the person was not acting reasonably safe under the circumstances, then they could be found negligent and thus responsible for the cyclist’s injuries. The best thing to do is to always look when you are exiting your car door as carefully as you would to avoid your door hitting another car in a parking lot.
Contact a South Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer.
After any accident involving a serious injury, contact a South Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer such as Edith Pearce. Unlike the huge firms with dozens of attorneys and many different attorneys handling different aspects of your case, Edith Pearce is personally involved in every case that we handle. She genuinely cares about her clients and you will not be treated like just another case or file.