Doorings: A Cyclist's Guide
Last night on their way to a donated food delivery, a volunteer cyclist of the Bike Brigade was doored on College Street in Toronto. They suffered a wrist injury.
2 nights ago, I almost got doored twice in the painted bike lanes behind Toronto General Hospital, and the next morning on College Street. Thankfully, the street was quiet, I was ringing my bell, able to not ride super close to the parked cars, and maneuver safely. Often though, as was the case of the Brigade Rider, with heavy traffic the only space you have to ride in is in the dooring zone. In those situations, the dooring risk is heightened greatly.
Dooring is one of the most unexpected and dangerous hazards we cyclists face.
At the Biking Lawyer LLP, many of our clients have been doored and severely injured. They share many things in common, including the complete surprise and severity of injury.
If you have been doored, fill out our Online Crash Report and take the following steps:
****Unlike a crash with a car that is in motion, Toronto Police have made it difficult to access health and lost income benefits if you've been doored. We wrote to the Toronto Police about this in 2019 and 2020 about this. However, we still are met with calls from injured cyclists where Toronto Police have not provided the necessary insurance information.
1. Get Safe! Assess your injuries and seek medical attention:
The most important thing to do in the aftermath of a dooring is to tend to your health.
Assess your injuries and ask for help to get to a safe location (off the road).
If you are injured or believe you could be injured, move as little as possible and request an ambulance attend the scene by calling 911 or having a bystander make the call.
I once biked home from a crash with a broken wrist, only later having to attend the hospital. This was a bad move. Better to stay on the scene and request help, even if you are not sure the extent of your injuries. Ambulance fees and bills will ultimately be covered by insurance in nearly every case.
If an ambulance is not called, go to your family doctor or a walk-in clinic to get checked out the same or following day. Document your injuries (pictures).
Even if you think you are fine, get a medical professional to tell you that.
When in doubt have someone call an ambulance to the scene.
2. GET the driver's insurance information and Take pictures:
Anyone involved in a motor vehicle collision is obligated to stop and provide insurance information (Highway Traffic Act, s. 200(1)(c)).
As soon as possible, request insurance information and take a picture of the driver’s license plate and ID while you wait for emergency services. If they will not give you their insurance information, ask the police to give it to you on scene. They may not give it to you later and this will impact the short term benefits you are entitled to.
If police refuse to provide this information to you, take down their full name and badge number and contact The Biking Lawyer LLP for assistance (email@example.com).
Take pictures of any damage to your bike, the other vehicle, your injuries, the scene, etc.
If you cannot take pictures due to your injuries, ask witnesses/bystanders to help you. Get their contact info as well.
By taking down the driver's license details and insurance information, you enable yourself access to NO-FAULT crash benefits, from health care treatment to compensation for lost wages, even if you don’t have car insurance: “no fault Accident Benefits system”.
You do not have to have your own insurance. The insurance of the car driver that hit you applies, whether you were at fault for the crash or not.
3. Seek legal Advice:
Regardless of the severity of your injuries, make sure you know what to expect post-crash.
Make sure you know your rights.
For any injured cyclist, across Ontario, we provide free legal consults.
We are always available to discuss your options. If you have been involved in crash, contact us right away: firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a call.
***Tips to avoid doorings and minimize injuries:
Use appropriate safety gear. Specifically: a helmet, your brightest lights (front and back) and always, always be ringing that bell. Pre-emptive bell ringing is not a sure-fire safety tool, but it helps.
Riding defensively is as important as your gear. Slow down. You can ride fun and free on appropriate paths, but slow down on busier streets.
Be hyper vigilant when not in a protected bike lane. Watch for people in parked cars, turn signals/indicators, and suspicious behaviour.
There is no guaranteed protection from dooring. Ultimately, we need increased bike lanes across the City. However, until that happens, this non-exhaustive list of suggestions are meant to decrease the risk of injury
Ride safe and have fun!