“Dooring” is a term used to describe when a driver or passenger opens a car door unsafely into the path of a cyclist. Dooring can cause serious injuries to cyclists from concussions to broken bones. This is especially true when a cyclist swerves out of the way or collides with the car door causing them to fall onto the ground and into the path of other vehicles.
Cycling in Vancouver has become popular as ever with many people preferring this mode of transportation over driving. The City of Vancouver on its website sets out the cycling caution zones for doorings reported. While Section 203 of the Motor Vehicle Act deals specifically with “dooring” and prohibits the opening of the car door unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, our Provincial Government has gone further to try to curb dooring through fines. In September 2020, the Provincial Government increased the fine for dooring to $368.00. This is a substantial fine increase from the prior $81 fine in an effort to try to reduce ICBC cyclist dooring accidents.
By law and as outlined in Section 183 of the Motor Vehicle Act, cyclists have the same rights and duties as motorists. In other words, cyclists are required by law to follow the same rules as drivers. It is not considered illegal for a cyclist to pass a stopped vehicle, however, it depends on the circumstances. In particular, whether a cyclist passes a stopped vehicle on the right or on the left will have an impact on who is ultimately at fault for the motor vehicle accident.
Generally, when a cyclist passes a car on the left hand side, the driver will be found responsible for the accident as outlined in Hagreen v. Su 2009 BCSC 1455.
When a cyclist passes a car on the right hand side, the cyclist may be found at fault entirely or partially depending on the circumstances. As outlined in a previous blog article, there have been 2 Court of Appeal decisions that have found cyclists at fault for dooring ICBC cyclist accidents when passing vehicles on the right.
If you are a cyclist who has been injured from being doored by a car, it is important that you obtain legal advice as soon as possible. The lawyers at Holness and Small Law Group have considerable experience representing and advocating for cyclists for over 20 years. Contact us for a free initial consultation to learn more about your legal rights as a cyclist.