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Cyclists at risk of personal injury from car doors

Though the snow has recently returned, it won't be long before bicyclists return to Ontario streets. Bikes are inexpensive and environmentally friendly, and their compact nature makes them a favourite in downtown hubs. Unfortunately, many motorists are not looking for bikes in a big city, and accidents happen. One of the most dreaded bike/car interactions is called "dooring," and it can cause a serious personal injury.

As the name implies, dooring happens when a motorist opens his or her car door into the path of an oncoming cyclist. If the cyclist doesn't have enough time to stop or take evasive action, he or she might crash headlong into the door. Accidents of this nature are dangerous, and lamentably frequent in occurrence. Injuries can be severe, and possibly fatal.

Although a driver faces the potential of a $365 fine and three demerit points for a dooring incident, incidents are on the rise. There were 209 reported doorings in Toronto in 2016, up by 58 percent since 2014. The advocacy group Cycle Toronto believes there are likely many more incidents that go unreported. An estimated 40,000 people bike to work in Toronto every day, suggesting the true number of accidents may be much higher.

Riding in a city core is a fast and efficient way to get from one place to another. It can also be potentially dangerous. Those who suffer a personal injury in a dooring accident, or other interaction with a motor vehicle in Ontario, may wish to speak to a lawyer about their rights. An experienced lawyer may be able to help win the compensation a person needs to assist with his or her recovery.

Source: CBC News - Toronto, "More cyclists getting doored on city streets, advocacy group says", Andrea Janus, March 8, 2017

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