The Active Transportation Alliance and other cyclist groups have recently levied heavy criticism against the Illinois Department of Transportation for its failure to keep records on cycling injuries and deaths that result from ‘dooring’. ‘Dooring’ accidents, considered by many to be the most common type of vehicle-bicycle accident, occurs when a vehicle door is opened into the path of a bicyclist. The Active Transportation Alliance has launched a campaign to increase dooring awareness. The group considers dooring accidents to be the biggest threat to cyclists in the Chicago area. The group has conducted informal surveys that show nearly half the people that bike in the Chicago area have been doored at least once. The surveys, however, cannot be backed by solid statistics as IDOT has not required law enforcement agencies to track the accidents. The ATA estimates that the exclusion of dooring accidents from crash counts likely decreases vehicle-bike accident numbers by at least 15 percent statewide.
A City of Chicago statute carries fines ranging from $150 to $500 for opening a vehicle door in the path of a cyclist. The Chicago law also requires motorists to stay at least 3 feet away from cyclists and bans driving within the bike lanes. Chicago tracks dooring accidents and reports them to the State however IDOT foes not maintain the data. Chicago Police reported sixty six dooring accidents in 2010 and sixty two in 2009. There are similar state laws regarding the distance a motorist must keep from a cyclist and passing cyclists, however there is no state statute addressing dooring.
If you have any questions regarding dooring accidents or any other bicycle accidents in or around Chicago and would like to speak with an experienced injury attorney, please click here.