Motorcycle Accidents

Dooring Accidents: A Hidden Risk for City Motorcyclists

Navigating city streets as a motorcyclist can be invigorating, but it’s also dangerous. Riding in the city comes with a number of threats that you don’t have to think about in rural settings. Dooring, which can cause serious injuries to motorcyclists, is a massive risk in the city.

As a rider, you must know how to protect yourself and what your rights are after a motorcycle accident. If you’ve been injured, find out how Peake & Fowler can help. Call us at 803-788-4370 to set up a consultation now.

What Are Dooring Accidents?

Dooring is a common source of motorcycle accidents in urban areas like Columbia. It occurs when a driver or passenger of a vehicle opens their door into the pathway of a motorcyclist. The rider hits the door and either falls off their bike or is thrown over the door and into traffic. Motorcyclists generally have little to no time to react to the opening of the car door, so they do not have the chance to take evasive action. This is especially true in the city, where swerving to avoid the door could mean swerving into even more dangerous traffic.

Liability in Dooring Accidents

Determining liability in dooring accidents can be challenging, as drivers often claim that they did check for traffic before opening their door while motorcyclists claim that the door came out of nowhere. However, as a general rule, drivers are expected to check that the path is clear before they open their doors. Opening a door is considered entering a lane of traffic, and you always have to check first.

The other issue is that motorcyclists can suffer serious injuries after a dooring accident. Getting hit by the door is often the trigger for much worse injuries. If they are moving at a high speed when they hit the door, they may be thrown from their bike into dense urban traffic. This can lead to getting run over or being at the center of a pileup. Riders can also hit other parked vehicles and suffer blunt force trauma.

Preventing Dooring Collisions

There’s only so much riders can do to avoid dooring accidents; this is largely a driver issue that requires greater caution and knowledge of one’s surroundings. Public education is a key component, as drivers often don’t even think about the fact that motorcyclists and bicyclists may be in the path of their door. Signage reminding drivers to be careful when opening their doors can also be helpful. Wider parking lanes and designated bicycle lanes can also go a long way in improving safety, although the former can be challenging in urban areas where space is limited.

Safety Tips for Riders

Although riders are largely at the mercy of drivers, there are precautions they can take to avoid dooring accidents and stay safe:

  • Keep dooring at the forefront of your mind: Simply remembering that a threat is present can keep you ready to take evasive action.
  • Maintain a safe distance: When riding in the city in the far right lane, try to avoid the “door zone.” You know how far a door swings out when opened, so try to stay far enough to the left so that you aren’t in the path of any doors.
  • Be aware of others’ actions: As you approach parked cars, keep an eye out for drivers’ behavior. If a car has just parked, there’s a good chance they’ll be exiting their car shortly—so you know to be careful.
  • Wear appropriate safety gear: While safety gear cannot prevent an accident, it can mitigate the damage if you are involved in a crash. Even in a city, where you’re likely traveling at lower speeds, safety gear can save lives.


Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of society as a whole to keep vulnerable road users safe and drive accident numbers down.

Choose Peake & Fowler for Your Motorcycle Accident Claim

If you’ve suffered injuries in a Columbia motorcycle accident, the team at Peake & Fowler is here to help you pursue compensation. It all starts with a free consultation, where we’ll learn more about the accident and how it happened. Set up a time to meet now by calling us at 803-788-4370 or contacting us online.