Submission: Cyclist Struck at 16th and R St, NW

Date: 6/29/11
Approx Time: 6PM
Is anyone at fault if I’m riding in the bike lane, approaching upon a cab stopped half-way into the bike lane, then as I attempt to pass around the cab, the cab passenger all of a sudden opens the door and hits me as I’m biking at 20 mph sending me and the bike reeling? Should the cab not have stopped there? Should the passenger look before opening the door? This scenario actually happened to me yesterday as I was riding on R St NW (between 15th and 16th St.). I sustained a wrist injury and damage to my bicycle. I asked a cop later that day; he seemed to indicate the taxi cab driver could have been at fault for dropping off a passenger in the middle of a bike lane. Do you have any thoughts on this matter?

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Pedestrians and cyclists are hit in the District every day. We're advocating for better reporting to make DC safer for all.
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4 Responses to Submission: Cyclist Struck at 16th and R St, NW

  1. Evan Wilder says:

    I hate stories like this 😦 Seems like there should be some repercussions for this happening.

    When you passed the taxi were you in the bike lane or did you switch to the main car lane?

    I always avoid pulled over taxis and pass with plenty of distance since you never know which doors will open.

  2. mattashburn says:

    I’d say there are at least two violations:
    -Hack violation / Fail to pull to curb to discharge passenger (31 DCMR 822.16,17)
    -Passenger opened door in unsafe manner (18 DCMR 2214.4)

    The details are a little unclear, so there may other violations. For example, did the passenger exit on the curb side, or driver’s side?

  3. M says:

    I think you are at fault here, actually. A cab stopped in the middle of the block should be a huge red flag for you to slow down considerably and stay entirely out of the door zone. It was really imprudent for you to fly down the street so quickly and not stay out of the cab’s way.

    Was it legal for the cab to stop in the bike lane? I don’t know. Should the passenger have looked behind before opening the door? Definitely. But it is 100% predictable that cabs and passengers WILL do both things, frequently, and you should adjust accordingly.

    In short, any time you see a cab you need to pay close attention and bike with utmost caution.

  4. seo says:

    cabs will be the death of me. If they arent rolling stop signs into cyclists or making sudden turns into them, they are illegally dropping off rushed or beligerant unwary passangers in bicycle lane traffic. “anytime you see a cab you need to pay close attention…” sounds like someone hasn’t been out on a city street. Here in SF there are almost more cabs than other vehicles. There is always a cab in sight. I bike with “utmost caution” but still seem to have too many close calls with cabs. Blaming the victim is a useless excercise; every accident needs to be reported to the insurance of the car. EVERY ONE. If you get hit by an idiot cab driver breaking the law, call the police, file an accident report on the site, and file a claim against their insurance. There must be a relentless effort to hold drivers accountable.

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