Car-Doored - Cyclist v. Pizza Delivery Company 2020
Our client, a 62-year-old husband, father of two and executive working for the State of Oregon, rode his bicycle home on his customary afternoon route through the West Hills. Near his house, he approached a pizza delivery car parked at the curb on the right side of the street. On his left, a van was backing to parallel park at the curb, its nose extending into the street, leaving a gap down the center. As our client passed the pizza car, the driver opened his door, and our client crashed into it. He landed the asphalt and, though wearing a helmet, immediately lost consciousness.
Our client suffered through a long and difficult recovery period and was ultimately left with a permanent, disabling head injury. TCNF’s Cynthia Newton filed the case in Multnomah County alleging, among other things, that the driver was negligent for violating ORS 811.490, which prohibits blocking traffic with an open car door. The pizza company countered with the kitchen sink – our client was going too fast; failed to control his bike; failed to keep a lookout; failed to yield the right of way; and they claimed the gap was too narrow to ride through. However, the pizza company representative who trained the driver admitted in deposition that he was unaware of Oregon’s car door statute and did not train the company’s drivers to check their mirrors, follow the law and open car doors safely when making deliveries. On the issue of whether the space between the backing van and the pizza delivery vehicle was too narrow for the cyclist to ride through, the pizza delivery driver admitted at deposition that the van was backing when he arrived to park and that, by parking directly across from it, he made the roadway more dangerous.
Just before setting the case for trial, the parties reached a multiple seven-figure settlement, involving several levels of personal and commercial insurance coverage in a two-phase mediation.