Bernie asked: A motorist parks properly on A1A next to a bike path. He exits the car on the driver’s side which is next to the bike path. As he exits opening the door a cyclist goes into the door damaging the door and the bicyclist has serious injuries.
We don’t determine fault on this site. Rather, we state the applicable laws and let the courts do that. In this case, the driver of the motor vehicle is responsible for insuring that opening the door does not interfere with other traffic, in this case, the bicyclist riding legally.
s. 316.2005 – Opening and Closing Vehicle Doors
No person shall open any door on a motor vehicle unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
This is a common problem with door zone bike lanes and extra caution is advised when riding in them. A case can be made for riding outside the bike lane for that reason. Remaining in the bike lane subjects the cyclist to an unsafe condition, one of the many reasons a cyclist is not required to stay in the bike lane.
s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations
(5)(a) Any person operating a bicycle …. shall ride in the lane marked for bicycle use …. except under any of the following situations:
3. When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition or potential conflict …. which makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge or within a bicycle lane.