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The English language is constantly evolving. New words and phrases are being “invented” every year, and new definitions are being given to words and terms that traditionally describe something different. Even existing words are being transformed into different parts of speech.

Exhibit A: the word “door.”

Most dictionaries only list it as a noun. But recently, some people have been using the four-letter word as a verb. If you are an avid bicyclist, you probably have heard the term “doored” used in this way – as in what happens to a person riding a bicycle along a vehicle-lined street when a car door opens unexpectedly in front of them and they crash into it.

There are no statistics available for bicyclist in Clark County or Las Vegas who get doored. But if you are a bicyclist in the valley, chances are that you have been doored or know someone who has. (In fact, a survey of Chicago bicyclists revealed that half of the respondents have been doored at least one time.)

These types of bicycle accidents can cause severe injuries to the bike rider as well as substantial damage to the vehicle and bicycle. In some instances, the car’s occupant also sustains injuries if he or she steps out onto the street right after opening the vehicle’s door.

Predictably, motorists and bicyclists are divided as to where the blame lies in dooring accidents. Bicyclists think that vehicle owners should make sure that the street is clear of bicycles before any vehicle’s door is opened. And drivers believe that bicyclists have the responsibility of avoiding contact with car doors that may open in front of them. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, and the assignment of fault usually varies depending on the details of each case. But operators of both two-wheeled and four-wheeled modes of transport should exercise extra caution in an effort to avoid dooring accidents.

If you have been “doored” while riding your bicycle, you may want to contact a qualified bicycle accident attorney to see if a personal injury lawsuit is warranted.