Uber and Lyft: Bicyclists Experiencing Increase in Dooring Accidents
Dooring accidents that injure bicyclists are on the rise from a new source. Uber and Lyft, the popular ride services, are becoming part of the problem because they commonly pick up or drop off passengers along busy streets. By pulling over to pick up or let off a passenger, the vehicles encroach upon bicycle lanes. The ride shares themselves aren’t causing the dooring accidents. Their passengers are. However, it has become a big enough problem that both companies have seen the need to address both their drivers and their passengers.
What Is a Dooring Accident?
A dooring accident occurs when a vehicle’s passenger swings the car door open to get out, causing the bicycle rider to slam into the door. In California, those who are opening car doors are legally obligated under Vehicle Code 22517 to ensure it is safe to open the door and that doing so does not interfere with traffic.
Lyft Addresses Problem of Dooring Accidents
In April, Lyft addressed the problem of dooring accidents to its riders and drivers, reminding them that riding a bike on a crowded street can be dangerous. Since some streets lack bike lanes, it makes it more likely for a dooring accident to occur. Lyft points out that using a Dutch reach is a simple action that can make it safer for bicycle riders. A Dutch reach is when the passenger uses the opposite hand to reach for the door handle. In this way, they can look for cyclists before opening the door slowly. Lyft announced that they would be sending reminder notices to their drivers and riders to check for cyclists before opening vehicle doors.
Uber Starts Pilot Program
In May, Uber began a pilot program to increase safety between its drivers and passengers to help avoid serious injuries to bicycle riders. Available in some cities so far, it includes an app that reminds passengers to watch for cyclists. In addition, drivers for the company are being reminded that they cannot stop to drop off a passenger in a bicycle lane.
What to Do After a Dooring Accident
In California, drivers are required to remain at the scene of an accident that causes an injury. If no injury occurs, they must still exchange information such as providing their driver’s license number, name, address, and insurance information. If you are a bicycle rider who has been doored by an Uber or Lyft passenger, obtaining the following is important:
- Names, addresses, insurance information, and phone number of the driver. The license plate number of the vehicle, plus make, model and color is important too.
- Get the name, phone number, and address of the passenger if they caused your accident injury.
- Some Uber and Lyft drivers are reported to be leaving the scene of the dooring accident. If the driver leaves the scene, try to get the license plate number.
- Mark down the time the accident happened, the location and the date. The companies keep track of where their drivers are going.
- After your accident, seek medical attention right away even if you think you weren’t injured. Some injuries do not present right away.
Liability in a Dooring Accident
Liability in an Uber/Lyft accident, while you are a passenger, means you can place a claim against the driver and/or the company. In some cases, you can place a claim against both for your accident injuries. The cyclist hurt in a dooring accident can place a claim against the driver and the passenger. Uber has stated that their insurance will not pay for a cyclist injury. However, this is currently being examined in the courts. A lawyer experienced in Uber or Lyft accidents can help you by getting the personal injury compensation you need. In this way, you will be able to pay the medical bills, the time you lost from your job and the pain and suffering you experienced.
Uber and Lyft Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, an Uber and Lyft injury lawyer. If you are injured while in a rideshare vehicle or one caused your bicycle accident, I have free and friendly advice to offer you. Please call me at (916) 921-6400 or at the toll-free line (800) 404-5400. An online contact form is also available.
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