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Dooring Accidents in Boston – Be Aware of Boston Cyclists

The benefits of bicycling are hard to deny. This form of transportation is great for your health, your pocket, and the environment. But if you live in a major city, such as Boston, it can also be dangerous. With proper equipment, training, and safe-riding practices, you can dramatically reduce your risk of injury or death in a bicycle accident. The two scenarios below are responsible for a significant number of serious bicycle accidents every year. Contact a Boston Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today.

Dooring

If you’re not an avid cyclist, you probably have no idea what the term ‘dooring’ means. But cyclists, especially those who frequently ride in cities, know exactly what dooring is. In Boston, most cyclists are required to ride in specified bike lanes or on the right-hand side of traffic. This requirement often places bicyclists dangerously close to parked cars. Because motor vehicle passengers and drivers are required to look for bicyclists prior to opening a door, the door opener is typically liable in a dooring accident.

Dooring occurs when a cyclist crashes into an open car or truck door. However, it’s rarely an open-and-shut case (no pun intended). Depending on the circumstances, the door opener can argue multiple reasons why the dooring wasn’t his or her fault. For example, if there was no other traffic at the time of the accident, the door opener might claim that the bicyclist had ample time and space to avoid the open door. Although it may sound like a ‘freak accident’, dooring is actually quite common. In fact, about 10% of all motor vehicle-bicycle crashes are due to dooring. Also, dooring accidents can be very serious, head injuries and spinal injuries can occur from this type of accident. If you have just parked your car make sure you look out your mirrors to see who and what may be driving by. 

Snow Plowing

It’s common knowledge that cities are tasked with keeping streets clear of snow so that motor vehicles can drive safely, even in New England’s harsh winters. But what about bike lanes? Unfortunately, bike lanes are often located in the section of the street where snow plows push most of the snow. For this reason, bicycling to and from work in the winter can be particularly challenging. Although bike lanes continue to become more user-friendly as year-round bicycling becomes more popular, the city of Boston still has significant room for improvement, especially as it relates to winter cycling.

Boston is at the forefront of some bicycling-culture improvements, however. Consider the ‘buffered bike lane’. The buffered lane is a lane separated from the street by more than just painted lines. A physical buffer provides a protective barrier between the bike lane and auto lanes, and simultaneously prevents snow plows from plowing snow directly into the bike lane. However, buffered lanes don’t come without problems. They can accumulate debris more easily than standard bike lanes, and they require special plows that are narrow enough to effectively clear them of snow. What if someone gets injured as a result of these buffered bike lanes? Who’s at fault? According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, “Responsible parties may include one or more state agencies and municipalities, as determined by right-of-way ownership, abutting land ownership, or the number of jurisdictions spanned by the separated bike lane.”

Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Premier Bicycle Accident Law Firm

Whatever the circumstances of your bicycling accident, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of accident and injury victims for more than 50 years, and we have an impressive track record of obtaining compensation for our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.