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It's the door-opener who has to be careful

I was driving on Main Street in downtown Medford in the right lane when someone got out of his car without looking and opened the door right as I was approaching. I hit the brakes and got a nasty look in return. It seems to me that he was the one at fault, not me, right?

— Joe H., Medford

Before we tell you who was right, Joe, let's just say that the wrong guy was getting the nasty look. According to Oregon law, you were clearly in the right. In fact. Mr. Door Opener could have been ticketed for what he did. Here's what the law (ORS 811.490) says:

"A person commits the offense of improper opening or leaving open a vehicle door if the person does any of the following:

"(a) Opens any door of a vehicle unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so and it can be done without interference with the movement of traffic, or with pedestrians and bicycles on sidewalks or shoulders.

"(b) Leaves a door open on the side of a vehicle available to traffic, or to pedestrians or bicycles on sidewalks or shoulders for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers."

So not only is it illegal to open the door into oncoming traffic, you can't legally leave your door open while you're loading and unloading your Christmas presents. Then again, if no nasty looks were involved, the police might just look the other way on that one.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.