Case and Point - cyclists overtaking parked cars

Discussion in 'Advocacy and Cycling Safety' started by LLB, 16 Jul 2007.

  1. LLB

    LLB Guest

    A website I moderate on has just had a thread posted up by a regular member after a car driver opened a door on him as he was cycling up the road this evening - he went over the bars, he is going to be sore in the morning (got a witness though :eek: ).

    Anyway, the site has a couple of very knowledgeable people on there and this was the answer from the sites resident legal eagle. You may find it useful if faced with the same situation.

    May be worthy of a sticky !

  2. dondare

    dondare Über Member

    That's good but I doubt that we can rely on it. Is anyone aware of any specific cases where a cyclist has been doored and not received full compensation?
  3. Nortones2

    Nortones2 Veteran

    If its a decision of the Court of Appeal, that decision is binding, where the facts are similar, on all courts except the H of Lords. IIRC, which I do:smile:
  4. OP

    LLB Guest

  5. Pete

    Pete Guest

    Good result for Mr. Burridge, but I agree with Dondare, don't expect a favourable outcome every time! 'Dooring' is a grey area, legal-wise. Partly, I believe, because attributing liability is not straightforward. What if a passenger opens the door? What if the driver was not present at the time? What if the passenger is a child?

    Far better to prepare for the worst and ride defensively to avoid such encounters. I appreciate that the case above was rather an exception, but, in general, if you have the space and traffic permits, ride well away from parked cars in primary position. Glance into every car as you pass it: can you see a human figure? Won't cover every possibility I know, but this sort of caution could save your life one day...
  6. Kinda agree with Pete

    Given a choice, I'd rather avoid riding into an opened door, which looks like it'll have sharp edges and be harder than me.

    Not too bothered about courts, liability, compenation, etc. - it's bound to hurt.
  7. simon l& and a half

    simon l& and a half New Member

    Streatham Hill
    the Burridge case has stood the test of time. Claims have relied on it and won.
  8. Pete

    Pete Guest

    I suppose the 'special circumstances' of this case are the fact that the minibus pulled up on the left sharply, just after overtaking the cyclist. It is explicitly stated that the driver did not cut up the cyclist: I'm not so sure that this doesn't amount to 'cutting up'. Anyway this forced the cyclist, either to screech to a halt himself, or to make a sudden unplanned manoeuvre to overtake the minibus, in a short space. Hence he wouldn't have had a chance to position himself more safely for the overtake. Hence he couldn't be done for contributory negligence. Hence it's the minibus driver's fault.

    In more normal cases the cyclist may have had plenty of time to see the parked vehicle ahead, and to plan his overtake accordingly. In such cases, he may yet be held to account.

    Anyway, as Andy said, much rather not be doored at all, than be a cripple fighting it out in the courts!
  9. ufkacbln

    ufkacbln Guest

    This is a difficult issue as it differs in definition and context.

    The statement (more or less) is that getting out of a car after it has juststopped is logical and therefore should be considered as an outcome and allowed for.

    Passing a line of stationary parked cars is another issue.
  10. Nortones2

    Nortones2 Veteran

    The onus on the driver is to check before opening the door.

    From the current HC " stop as close as you can to the side
    do not stop too close to a vehicle displaying a Blue Badge, remember, they may need more room to get in or out
    you MUST switch off the engine, headlights and fog lights
    you MUST apply the handbrake before leaving the vehicle
    you MUST ensure you do not hit anyone when you open your door
    it is safer for your passengers (especially children) to get out of the vehicle on the side next to the kerb
    lock your vehicle.
    Laws CSDPA sect 21, CUR reg 98,105 & 107, RVLR reg 27 & RTA 1988 sect 42

    It a legal requirement to check. "Many of the rules in the Code are legal requirements,....Such rules are identified by the use of the words MUST / MUST NOT." Given that the court did not believe the drivers evidence, then there is no contributory negligence in this or similar cases of peremptory door opening. Taking this a little further, how far out would a cyclist have to deviate to avoid a flung-open door? My car door (drivers) fully opens to a distance 1 metre from the bodywork. This is a medium 5 seater. Add a margin for error: say 1.5 metres clearance required. Is this feasible in urban streets? I'd say the onus is fully on the driver to ensure the doors are not opened if unsafe to do so.
  11. Tony

    Tony New Member

    Two things here: responsibility for checking before opening doors, and self-preservation in not riding too close. I was nearly doored in Mallorca recently---I thought I was far enough out, but Merc sports cars have extremely wide doors.
    Missed it by a gnat's todger. I should know better.
  12. spen666

    spen666 Guru

    [quote name='dondare]That's good but I doubt that we can rely on it.[/b'] Is anyone aware of any specific cases where a cyclist has been doored and not received full compensation?[/quote]

    why not?
  13. spen666

    spen666 Guru

    None of the situations you quote affects the basic liability.

    The only question is whether there may be an issue of contributory negligence on the part of the cyclist IF he was riding too close to a parked car.

    If it is a child, then the child is liable and the adult responsible for supervising the child may also be liable
  14. Licramite

    Licramite Über Member

    of course its not only cyclists who get doored.
    in cardiff several years ago I was driving past parked cars, nobhead opens his drivers door and leans in to get his briefcase, which saved his life , or least his legs. - I took his door right off. I had no chance to even brake !
    for insurance it was enterly his fault.
  15. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    Thread revival after five years, is this a record?:smile:
    Markymark and davefb like this.
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