What’s the Law in Florida on Opening the Car Door into a Cyclist?

Florida statute 316.2005 says that no person shall open a car door until it is reasonably safe to do so. This puts the responsibility on the driver or passenger in the car to make sure that they can do so safely. They can be cited if they open their car door into the path of a pedestrian, cyclist or even another vehicle. This has nothing to do with whether a cyclist is in a bicycle lane. It clearly applies to the situation where the occupant of the vehicle opens her door into a bike lane, but it is not limited to those situations.

In most situations when a cyclist is approaching a car they are doing so on the driver’s side and generally are keeping an eye out for whether the car they’re approaching has someone sitting behind the wheel who could potentially open a door into their path. But those are not the only situations where this problem can occur.

I represented a cycling client who was riding in a bike lane approaching an intersection with a line of cars which were slowing or were stopped. A vehicle passed the cyclist, stopped in the line of traffic at which point the front right passenger opened their door suddenly to get out of the vehicle. The door caught my cyclist square on the bike and their body, causing significant injury. The passenger was cited by the police for improperly opening the door of the vehicle.

A cyclist who’s been injured when a car door is opened into their path has a claim against the insurance of the vehicle involved their injuries, medical expenses and other harms.

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Jim Dodson
A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.