Narcissus' Echo

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Friday, August 05, 2005


Ever been the recipient of a "door prize"?
I have, and let me tell you, it is very painful. It tore a gash on my left hip as I slid along the asphalt after being tossed over the handlebars. The "battle scar" still exists today.

A group of cyclists actually banded together to create a website documenting such accidents: Your Car Door is A Deathtrap

There is also a discussion on this topic on MTB Review, a mountain biking forum: Ever been "doored"?

While I am certainly not a Critical Mass eco-thug (as illustrated by the picture above), and deeply disapprove of the inane manner in which Critical Mass bicyclists terrorize pedestrians, flout traffic laws (e.g. "corking," which involves blocking cross traffic so that the riders can freely proceed through red lights.), and infuriate drivers, I do believe that drivers or passengers who "door" cyclists should be made to pay and pay dearly. As such, the following pointers are my suggestions should one be unfortunate enough to score a "door prize" whilst riding:

1.) Unless you are in danger of being run over by traffic--DO NOT GET UP. Wait for EMS personnel.

2.) If #1 is not possible, move or better yet, let passerbys assist you to a safe place, but INSIST ON AN AMBULANCE. An ambulance ride will cost anywhere from US$500 to $2000 or more. Your goal here is to inflict maximum financial damage to the driver and/or passenger. Do NOT forget to bring your helmet along (you will see why later).

3.) The police must be contacted. A case number will aid in your lawsuit later.

4.) At the hospital, INSIST ON MRIs of your spine, your limbs, your knees, your neck. Unlike X-rays, MRIs do not possess the risk of damaging your cells, but cost large sums of money.

5.) If your helmet has scuff marks, say you are dizzy, or have a headache, and REQUEST FOR A HEAD CAT SCAN. This costs monjo bucks. (NB: This procedure involves X-rays though.)

6.) #5 and #6 will take a lot of time, and you will have to be warded overnight for observation. By this time, you would have easily racked up US$15,000 to US$20,000 in medical bills. And you haven't even started factoring in the cost of your bicycle and lost wages, pain and suffering yet.

7.) Get an injury lawyer. The idiot who "doored" you is already facing heat from your medical insurance company for the immense bills racked up so far. Double his/her pleasure with your injury lawyer.

8.) Start seeing a psychologist for post-traumatic flashbacks of the accident. At US$350 a session, it adds more heat on the moron who "doored" you.

9.) Visit a physical therapist to rehabilitate your soft-tissue injury. More bills for the you-know-who.

10.) All these bills must be very upsetting to the recipient. If you even receive one angry phone call from the individual who "doored" you, have your lawyer file a restraining order. This can only help your lawsuit.

Fight all the way, unless they give you a satisfactory settlement. Righteousness is on your side. The person who doors a cyclist is almost always in the wrong (unless the cyclist is cycling against the flow of traffic, does not have lights cycling in a dark street at night, blows a stop sign, or a red light, etc).

If you do it right, you will easily rake up at least US$35,000 in bills to the defendant. Even if their insurance covers it, their premiums will rise to crippling rates for a long, long time.

Make them pay.


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