Any motorcycle rider who travels California’s busy streets has had close calls with car doors. All it takes is one door flung open at the wrong moment to cause a life-threatening collision.

These accidents happen frequently in crowded cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. Also called dooring accidents or car-door accidents, open car-door motorcycle accidents rarely harm the person who opens the door. The motorcyclist is the one who’s at risk of severe injuries.

Hitting a motorcyclist with a car door isn’t just a mistake. It’s against the law.

Under California law, “No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic. Nor shall any person leave the 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.”


The most common setting for an open-door motorcycle crash is a congested city roadway with on-street parallel parking. Picture San Francisco’s sloping streets packed with people, trolleys, and long lines of parked cars.

As drivers slide into parking spots and exit their cars, they might not notice or failing to check that they’re opening their door straight into a motorcyclist’s path. The motorcyclist can’t avoid the collision and hits the door at nearly full force.

Another common variation of this type of accident is when a driver on the side of the road whips open their car door and the motorcyclist has a split second to swerve out of its path. Now the motorcyclist is at risk of slamming into another vehicle, causing a chain-reaction collision, and tumbling off of their bike into traffic.

Illegally parked vehicles, such as Uber and Lyft drivers sometimes cause open-door motorcycle accidents by idling in no-parking zones and allowing passengers to enter/exit in traffic. The motorcyclist isn’t expecting a car to make an illegal maneuver or suddenly pop open a door.

Most injured in a motorcycle dooring accident are caused by some type of negligence on the part of the other driver. This may include:

  • Failure to look back before opening a door
  • Being distracted while driving/parking
  • Talking, texting, or otherwise using a device
  • Intoxication by alcohol or drugs
  • Illegal parking
  • Road rage

There could also be other contributors to your accident like bad weather, poorly-marked parking, or debris in the road that make it impossible to avoid an open car door. A city government or private company may bear some responsibility for what happened.


After an open-door motorcycle accident, immediately move out of traffic to safety and call 911. Accept medical help at the scene of the accident. Answer basic questions from healthcare professionals and the police, but don’t go into too much detail about what happened.

Survivors of motorcycle dooring accidents often have severe injuries that are expensive to treat and require a long recovery period. To get your bills paid, you’ll need to start an insurance claim or lawsuit, which is an intimidating prospect when you’re trying to heal.

Make it a priority to talk to a California motorcycle accident lawyer who has experience with cases that involve open car doors. Be sure to tell your lawyer if you have concerns about the accident, like if you’re suspicious that the other driver was intoxicated or distracted.

Successful dooring claims are built on evidence including the police report and details from other drivers who were involved. Save photos and videos of things like your destroyed bike, your physical injuries, and road signs and markings. Your lawyer can help you further strengthen your evidence with witness statements, traffic camera footage, and more.

California motorcyclists have a right to travel safely, just like anyone else on the road. If someone hurts you, you can assertively demand compensation


  • Identify the driver who hit you with their door
  • Locate strong evidence to back up your claims
  • Seek the money you need to get your motorcycle repaired
  • Handle insurance companies and representatives and other people who are trying to contact you
  • Negotiate an insurance settlement or go to court if necessary
  • Get your medical bills paid
  • Minimize your stress after the accident

Here at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we have enormous compassion and respect for injured motorcyclists. We have a long history of helping our clients demand the compensation they deserve

Please reach out to us and speak with an experienced attorney if you need a free motorcycle accident case evaluation. An open-door motorcycle accident might ruin your ride, but it doesn’t have to ruin your life.


After an injury, contact the law firm attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including open-door motorcycle accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.

We truly care about the people of California. Please contact us online today for a free online case evaluation.