When a driver gets out of a parked car without first looking for bicycles — perhaps because he or she was distracted by the phone — the driver may hit the cyclist with the door. Since the cyclist rides in the same direction as traffic, this can be a very violent collision with no give at all from the door. People can be badly hurt before they even hit the ground, then suffer more injuries, such as road rash or broken bones, when they strike the pavement.
But that’s not even the worst of it. One police officer pointed out that a cyclist is probably not going to sail over the door and land on the hood. They’re also not going to grab the door and hold on, staying near the car. What they’re going to do in the vast majority of cases is to fall to the left, out of control, and land directly in the traffic lane.
This is when a secondary accident can happen. If there is heavy traffic on the road, the cyclist lands right in front of a vehicle and the driver only has a split second to react. Moreover, if there is any other traffic — either in another lane or in the oncoming lane on a two-lane road — the driver in that lane may not be able to swerve. They could wind up running over the cyclist as they try to slow down by hitting the brakes, but with not nearly enough space to actually stop the car.
An accident like this can lead to severe injuries that may be fatal. Those who get injured or lose loved ones need to know what steps they can take.