Abels & Annes

Group wants ‘Dooring” tracked as cause of Chicago bicycle accidents

Chicago bike accident attorneys at Abels & Annes have worked on several “Dooring” cases over the past few years.

Advocates are now pushing for officials to include “dooring” statistics when tracking the number of serious and fatal bicycle accidents in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois, according to a report in The Tribune.

Our Chicago bicycle accident lawyers remind motorists that a new Illinois law permits criminal penalties for motorists who cause an accident by not allowing three-foot of clearance between a vehicle and a rider. The Journal Standard reports that the law also created the “Share the Road” license plate.
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The 3-foot rule has been on the books since 2008. Now motorists convicted of intimidating a cyclist could face up to a year in prison and a fine of $2,500; the law took effect on Jan. 1.

However, vehicles that are not moving are involved in one of the leading causes of bicycle accidents in Chicago: Motorists opening car doors into the path of a cyclist. Because they do not involve a moving vehicle, crash statistics are not tracked by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The mother of a 22-year-old Chicago man, who was killed in an accident on La Salle Street when an SUV door opened into his path, is among those pushing for the change in how bicycle accidents are counted. The Active Transportation Alliance is launching a campaign to increase public awareness about the danger of bicycle accidents caused by open car doors. The group said the issue is the most prevalent threat facing cyclists on the street.

A survey by the group indicates half of cyclists have been doored at least once. However, the lack of official state statistics makes it difficult or impossible to apply for grant money or take other steps to improve safety. IDOT reports as many as 27 cyclists have been killed in Illinois bicycle accidents in each of the last five years and an average of 3,300 are injured.

Chicago police reports 76 dooring accidents last year and 62 in 2009. A 2008 city law carries a fine of up to $500 for opening a door into a cyclist’s path. However, the Tribune reports no tickets have been issued under the law. Police did issue 161 tickets last year and 106 in 2009 to drivers who were driving, standing or parking in bike lanes.

Bicyclists and drivers can contact IDOT with questions or comments via the agency’s website or by phone at 217-782-7820. IDOT’s address is 2300 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield, IL 62764.

If you are injured in a bicycle accident contact the Chicago personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.