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What are your rights after a dooring incident in Connecticut?

On Behalf of | Aug 6, 2021 | Bicycle Accidents

Connecticut state law considers bicycles vehicles that have many of the same legal rights as bigger, motor vehicles. While cyclists don’t have to have liability insurance because they can’t cause damage the way that a car or SUV could, they do have to abide by all traffic laws and follow the flow of traffic.

Cyclists are often very aware of their risky position on the Connecticut roads and will do their best to stay safe. However, even the most proactive cyclist can’t protect themselves from the bad behavior of those in larger vehicles. Dooring incidents often occur so quickly that a cyclist has no opportunity to respond.

What happens in a dooring?

The word “dooring” refers to the kind of crash that happens when someone opens a car door right in front of a cyclist. The result is often dramatic and injurious to the cyclist. Since the person opening the car door does not look to check for traffic before doing so, the cyclists will have only seconds to respond to an immovable object in their path.

Often, cyclists will hit the door, suffering blunt-force trauma from the collision that halts their momentum. Sometimes, depending on the size of the vehicle and the speed of the cyclist, a dooring might mean that the cyclist flips over the door before striking the pavement or winds up in traffic with possibly tragic consequences. What rights does a cyclist have after a dooring incident on a Connecticut road?

There is no Connecticut law against dooring

Many states have adopted specific statutes that make opening a vehicle door in front of a cyclist a traffic offense. Unfortunately, Connecticut has yet to follow this example and adopt its own statute. However, although dooring is not specifically illegal in Connecticut, it is a prime example of negligent behavior.

Cyclists hurt in a dooring incident could potentially bring a claim against the vehicle owner’s car insurance. They may also be in a position to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver or passenger who irresponsibly blocked the flow of traffic.

Reviewing a copy of the police report from the dooring incident can be a good starting point for cyclists hurt by people in motor vehicles.