“I see it all the time and it really pisses me off. People don’t
look,” said Tom Georgiades, 59, who was thrown off his bike on Bell
Boulevard in Bayside, Queens, when a plumber swung open a van door. He
landed on his back and broke a clavicle.
“Dooring” has killed several cyclists in recent years. Jasmine
Herron, 23, an art-college graduate, was pedaling on Atlantic Avenue in
Brooklyn in 2010 when a woman suddenly got out of her parked car. Herron
was hurled into the path of oncoming city bus.
“Anyone who encourages bike riding in New York City should be put
in a psychiatric ward,” said Bernard Chambers, a lawyer for Herron’s
mother in a suit against the driver and the MTA.
“There’s just too much traffic and not enough road space.”
With ongoing efforts to make the city more bicycle-friendly — including
added bike lanes and the Citi Bike sharing system — the number of
careless motorists and passengers caught unsafely opening doors into traffic
and approaching cyclists is creeping up.
Last year, at least 231 tickets for the offense were issued statewide,
with the final count not yet complete, the state Department of Motor Vehicles
told The Post. That’s up from 209 in 2012 and 199 in 2011.
But the number of incidents is thought to be much higher, because cops
normally won’t give a ticket unless they witness a violation.
“The population of cyclists in the city is growing, but the awareness
of this dangerous act of opening a door into traffic is not,” said
Daniel Flanzig, an attorney.
Flanzig said half his bike-crash cases involve dooring, with more than 35 clients
injured in the past two years, many of whom win settlements. Under state
and city traffic laws, it’s the duty of a person opening a car door
to look first. Taxi passengers must exit curbside.
Jesse Hochmuth displays a torn bicep after being hit by a car door while
bicycling. He won a $201K settlement.
Flanzig client recently won a
$140,000 settlement for getting doored on 10th Street while cycling in a bike lane.
The exiting cab passenger and the cabby paid up.
Georgiades set out to enjoy a leisurely 18-mile loop in Bayside on St.
Patrick’s Day 2011. He watched out for people in parked cars who
might be getting out, but the plumber was lying on his side when he kicked
the door ajar.
“It opened a fraction of a second before I hit it,” Georgiades said.
While spread-eagle on his back, he recalled, the plumber yelled at him,
“Get up, you stupid f–k!”
Jesse Hochmuth, 29, said he was riding close to the parking lane on 13th
Street because cars were trying to pass when a door flung open. He tried
to pull away, but his right arm hit the door’s edge and he was tossed
onto his back, his bicep torn.
“There’s always a danger to bikers, no matter where you are,”
said Hochmuth, for whom
Flanzig secured a
Lawyer Steve Vaccaro is pressuring automakers to take responsibility for
the carnage. He has filed a suit in Manhattan Supreme Court against a
driver who injured his client. The suit also names Honda for failing to
install a light or chirping device that could alert cyclists about an