bike accidents pa

Bicyclist’s Guide to Preventing Dooring Accidents in PA

One minute you are enjoying riding your bike, the next you are staring at the sky and wondering where all the pain came from. You’ve been “doored”. Here is A Bicyclist’s Guide to Preventing Dooring Accidents.

bike accidents paWhat is a “dooring” accident?

In Philadelphia, bikers worry about sharing the road with larger, faster vehicles. They know that they are at risk of being injured by a driver who is speeding or distracted. But, many bicyclists don’t realize that parked vehicles can also be a danger.

Car door or “dooring” accidents happen when a driver or passenger opens a car door directly into a biker’s lane of travel.  The biker can’t anticipate the door opening. He has no time to get out of the way.

Running into a door may not a big deal, but Pennsylvania “dooring” accidents cause very serious injuries and even death, especially if the bicyclist is thrown off his bike and into traffic.

Bicycle “dooring” can happen anywhere.  However, “dooring” accidents are most likely to occur on narrow city streets where vehicles park along the sidewalks. If you are an urban bike rider, these tips can help you prevent dooring accidents.

Prevent Philadelphia “Dooring” Accidents

  1. Never assume that a parked car is safe. Watch for occupied vehicles, especially vehicles that have recently parked. Be aware that any person inside a parked vehicle may open a door into your lane of traffic.
  2. Avoid the “Door Zone”. The “Door Zone” extends three to four feet to the side of a parked vehicle. When riding near parked cars, try to stay on the left side of your lane. This will keep you out of the “Door Zone”.
  3. Wear your helmet. “Dooring” accidents can cause serious head injuries. Although a helmet can’t prevent every head injury, it can reduce the severity of the impact.
  4. Pay attention. Drivers aren’t the only people who can be distracted. A distracted biker is more likely to “doored” than a biker who is scanning both sides of his lane.
  5. Avoid routes with heavy traffic. Use bike trails when possible. If there a bike trail isn’t available, choose the route with lighter traffic and fewer parked cars.

Following traffic laws will reduce your risk of a Philadelphia “dooring’’ accident. However, drivers must also watch for bicyclists and use care when opening doors into a traffic lane.

If you have been seriously injured in a Philadelphia “dooring” accident, we urge you to call Petrelli Law. You may be eligible for compensation for your past and future medical bills, wage loss, pain and suffering, and more. Call (215) 309-4034 to schedule your free consultation.

5 Ways Negligent Drivers Cause Pennsylvania Bicycle Crashes

Bicycling as a form of transportation has many benefits. Biking is economical, healthy and good for the environment. But, bicycling can also be dangerous. Each year, more than 500,000 bicyclists are treated in U.S. emergency rooms; 700 die. Many of these deaths and injuries are related to motor vehicle accidents.

There is little a biker can do to protect himself from a reckless driver. Titanium frames and sleek helmets can’t protect against a bicyclist from a 3,500 pound vehicle. When the car hits the bicycle, serious injuries are inevitable.

Pennsylvania law is designed to protect bicyclists. Drivers have a “duty of care” towards bicyclists. This means that they must watch for bicyclists and take steps to reduce the chances of an accident. Yet, many PA drivers pay little attention to bikers; some even consider bikers an annoyance. These drivers often behave in ways that increase the risk of a bicyclist getting hurt.

Five Driver Behaviors That Cause PA Bicycle Accident Injuries

  1. Dangerous turns: Drivers at intersections often try to turn in front of an oncoming bicyclist. This is dangerous, especially if the driver has underestimated the bicyclist’s speed. A left hand turn can cut off the bicyclist’s path causing a collision; a right hand turn can knock the bicyclist over or force him into the path of the turning vehicle. Both types of turns can result in serious injury.
  2. Dangerous Passing: When a passing a bicycle, drivers must give the bicyclist enough space. Divers who pass to closely may sideswipe the bicyclists with side-view mirror. Drafts from larger vehicles can force the bicyclist off the road or push the bike into traffic.
  3. Disregard of bike lanes: Pennsylvania drivers should use extra care and watch for bicyclists when driving near bike lanes. Watching for bicycles is especially important at driveways and intersections where the bicyclist must share the lane with other vehicles. Car drivers should remember that although bikes are slower, bicyclists have the same rights of way as other drivers.
  4. Opening car doors: When a driver opens a car door into the path of an on-coming bicyclist, the bicyclist is put at risk. If the bicyclist hits the door, he or she may be knocked off the bicycle and into the path of a moving vehicle. Follow the link to learn more about Pennsylvania dooring accidents.
  5. Overestimating a bicyclist’s ability to stop: Under normal conditions, it takes about five seconds to stop a car. Stopping a bicycle takes longer. In fact, sudden braking can cause the bicyclist to be thrown over the bike and into the street. Drivers who assume that bicyclists can make sudden stops put bikers at risk.

Although car drivers should remember that bicyclists have the same rights as other drivers on the road, drivers aren’t the only ones responsible for preventing PA bicycle accidents. Bicyclists must also do their part to prevent accidents and injury by wearing proper safety gear and following the rules of the road. However, even the most experienced bicyclists are defenseless against a reckless driver.

Our legal team can assist you in holding negligent drivers accountable for bicyclist injuries. If you have been injured in a Pennsylvania bicycle accident, we are here to help. Call us at (215) 309-4034 to schedule a free consultation with a Philadelphia bike accident attorney.

Philadelphia Bike Accident Lawyers at Petrelli Law

Injured in a PA Bicycle Accident?


In Pennsylvania, a bicycle is considered a vehicle. Like all drivers, bicyclists must follow the rules of the road and take steps to protect their own safety. However, bicycle accidents are rarely the fault of the biker.


A bicycle is a traditional part of an American childhood. Unfortunately, many bicycle accident victims are children. Because children lack the judgement to avoid accidents, drivers have an increased duty of care.


Because bicycle-car accidents can result in very serious injuries, Pennsylvania drivers have a “duty of care” towards bicyclists. This means that drivers must watch for bicyclists and take steps to avoid accidents.

Who We Are?

tom petrelliWhen you are injured because of someone else’s negligence, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries. Petrelli Law is a Philadelphia-based law firm that knows the only way to bring about fair and just solutions for our clients is by building trust. That is why our firm is constantly in contact with our clients to make sure that every question and concern is addressed from the very beginning to the final outcome.

If you or your child was hit by a car while riding a bicycle, you may ask the driver’s insurance company to compensate you for your medical bills, property damage and other losses. How do you get this compensation?

Call us at (215) 309-4034 to schedule an appointment.

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