When riding your bike to work, to school or just for fun, you have a right to share the road with larger vehicles. This typically means riding on the far right side of the street, unless you’re making a left turn. In some cases, you have a bike lane on that side; in other cases, you just ride in the traffic lane, right by the curb.
Studies have found that most accidents do not, in fact, happen when cars pass you from behind. Your real threat is when drivers turn in front of the bike or make other mistakes ahead of you. This is why it’s safer to ride with traffic.
However, riding with traffic means that you could find yourself riding just a few feet — or even a few inches — from cars that are parked on the right side of the road. This creates a brand new hazard: When someone opens their door while you ride up behind the car, you could slam into that open door at full speed. In cycling slang, this is known as “getting doored.”
It’s not your fault at all when that happens. Legally, people in these parked cars need to look behind them to check that there are no bikes coming before opening the door.
Realistically, though, a lot of people don’t do it. They just listen to make sure a car isn’t coming. When someone swings a door open and starts to get out, likely staring at their phone already, they have no idea that the bike is there. Regardless of fault, you’re the one getting badly injured in that situation.
If this happens to you, then you may be able to seek financial compensation for your injuries and losses. An accident on your bicycle can leave you struggling with major medical bills and unable to work, so take steps to protect your interests right away.