Oregon Attorney Releases Bicycle Dooring Video PSA "Look For Cyclists"

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Oregon personal injury attorney Michael Colbach wants people to be aware that getting car "doored" poses danger of serious injury and even death to bicycle riders and pedestrians. Car drivers and passengers: Look for cyclists and pedestrians before opening a car door.

bicycle rider thrown by car door slung open into bike lane

Bicycle riders and pedestrians know the dangers of getting car doored

Oregon Law: 811.490 Improper opening or leaving open of vehicle door; penalty.

Portland personal injury attorney Michael Colbach says that car dooring incidents are more common than most people realize. In fact Colbach says that in most states we don't even know how common dooring collisions are because most cities and states do not track this bicycle crash statistic.

However, because of Chicago bicycle advocates the state of Illinois began tracking dooring incidents officially in 2011 and the collision data can help guide roadway design and safety campaigns. In 2012 the New York City Department of Transportation launched their own dooring prevention cycle safety prevention PSA video and media campaign which included stickers in taxi cabs. NYC DOT launched this safety campaign after 7 dooring cycling deaths in just 5 years.

Colbach says one immediate safety improvement is easy, "Look for bicycle riders and pedestrians before opening your car doors." He adds, "Drivers, be sure to inform passengers and kids to do the same, always look to make sure it is safe to open a car door."

Oregon Law instructs car occupants to, "not open any door of a vehicle unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so." And that opening the car door, "can be done without interference with the movement of traffic, or with pedestrians and bicycles on sidewalks or shoulders."

Chapter 811
Vehicle Code Book
2011 EDITION
Oregon: Rules of the Road for Drivers

811.490 Improper opening or leaving open of vehicle door; penalty.
(1) A person commits the offense of improper opening or leaving open a vehicle door if the person does any of the following:
    (a) Opens any door of a vehicle unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so and it can be done without interference with the movement of traffic, or with pedestrians and bicycles on sidewalks or shoulders.
    (b) Leaves a door open on the side of a vehicle available to traffic, or to pedestrians or bicycles on sidewalks or shoulders for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
(2) The offense described in this section, improper opening or leaving open a vehicle door, is a Class D traffic violation.
[1983 c.338 §655; 1985 c.16 §320]

Colbach wants to raise the awareness of car drivers about this, "door zone," danger. "Drivers sometimes get irritated with bike riders and expect bicycle traffic to ride as far as possible to the right of the lane as possible, even if it puts the bicycle rider in the door zone of parked cars. Rather than enduring increasing road rage incidents, we need to increase driver awareness of the door zone dangers. For a cyclist, there may be no possible evasive action to take especially in traffic. Getting doored can be a fatal crash."

Pedestrians on sidewalks are also at risk from parking cars and doors opening into their path of departing car occupants. "In Portland, we have lots of runners, and even in our quieter neighborhoods, runners get doored by car occupants not looking first."

Michael Colbach represents injured bicyclists in his Oregon personal injury law practice. As a former bike racer, and currently a bicycle commuter, the bicycle accident cases that he handles are particularly meaningful to him.

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Michael Colbach
@ORattorney
since: 06/2014
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