Car doored like elite cyclist Chris Froome? Here’s what to do next
Four times Tour de France winner Chris Froome has called for drivers to take more care after being hurt in a car dooring accident.
He injured his elbow after coming off his bike when a car driver opened their door without looking just as he was riding by.
“It was literally about a metre in front of me, I didn’t even make it to my brakes,” he said. “I hit the door and went flying over.”
How many cyclists are affected by car dooring incidents?
Sadly, Chris Froome is far from alone. Every year more than 700 cyclists are injured and two are killed, according to government statistics.
And Bristol has the worst record of all cities apart from London with 121 cyclists injured, 16 seriously, in the seven years up to 2018.
Why is car dooring so dangerous?
It is very difficult for cyclists to avoid this type of accident – especially as stopping distances for cyclists are considerably greater than for motorists.
It is also hard for a cyclist to bring their bike to a sudden stop without losing control and falling off.
Furthermore, trying to avoid a car door by swerving often puts a cyclist in the path of oncoming traffic with the injuries sustained as a result frequently life changing and sometimes fatal.
What does the new Highway Code have to say on car dooring?
Changes to the Highway Code announced in January 2022 suggest car drivers use the Dutch Reach technique to avoid accidents, a method commonly taught to drivers in Europe and also advocated by Chris Froome.
Instead of opening the door with the hand that’s closest to the door, the driver is advised to use their opposite hand so they naturally turn their body and, as a result, are forced to physically look over their shoulder to see if anything is coming.
“It’s extremely helpful and causes a lot less pain to us cyclists,” said Chris Froome, “and a very simple thing to do.”
What does the law say on car dooring?
‘Dooring’ is a criminal offence under Regulation 105 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 and Section 4 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
However, it is only punishable by a fine of up to £1,000 and no penalty points can be imposed on the offender’s licence.
Can I claim compensation for a car dooring accident?
If you suffered injuries in a car dooring accident, it may be possible to claim compensation from the car driver but taking early specialist legal advice is key.
You may be entitled to compensation from the car driver’s insurers including general damages, travel expenses, medical expenses, loss of earnings, loss of anticipated earnings and care costs.
Get in touch
Wards Solicitors’ Personal Injury specialist, Partner Helen Boyd, is named as a key lawyer in the independent Legal 500 guide for 2023.
She is highly experienced in cycling accident claims and has acted for a number of cyclists injured in car dooring accidents. This includes:
- Negotiating a settlement of £13,000 for a Bristol cyclist who broke both arms and had to take considerable time off work after being thrown over his handlebars when a car door was opened directly in his path;
- Securing compensation for a cyclist who suffered neck injuries in a car dooring incident in Weston-super-Mare.
Email Helen: Helen.Boyd@wards.uk.com
Phone Helen: 01275 850470