Have You Been Injured in a Bicycle Dooring Accident?
All it takes is a fraction of a second. A motorist carelessly swings open a vehicle door into the path of an oncoming bicyclist and a serious collision occurs. Over the years our Chicago bicycle dooring accident lawyers have handled many of these cases.
Bicycle Dooring Definition
Dooring is defined as when a driver or passenger swings open a car door directly into the lane of travel of a bicyclist, causing an accident. Injuries from a car door vs. a bicycle can be severe. Usually, the bicyclist has no time to react and slams into the open door, often flipping over and landing hard on the pavement.
Bicycle Dooring Accident Statistics
In 2011, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn ordered the state to start counting dooring accidents as a type of collision for statistical purposes. Police departments across Illinois now record these types of accidents on Illinois traffic crash reports. The information on these accidents will now be part of the Illinois Department of Transportation's (IDOT) annual crash report summaries. IDOT also started a public outreach program to spread the word to vehicle occupants that they need to look for bicycles before swinging a door open into traffic. They are focusing these efforts in communities with a high number of people using bicycles for transportation.
According to IDOT statistics:
- Dooring accidents occur most often at diagonal street intersections in Chicago, for example as Lincoln and Milwaukee Avenues. Clark Street also had a high number of dooring accidents.
- The majority of these accidents take place on the North Side of Chicago and in the downtown area. There are also areas on the South Side that have a high number of doorings, such as Hyde Park.
- Most Chicago bike dooring accidents occur during the daytime with good weather conditions. Fewer of these accidents occur at night or during bad weather such as rain or snow.
Bicycle Dooring Prevention Measures
The City of Chicago has reacted to try to reduce these accidents over the last couple years. The Mayor's office has been adding protected bike lanes throughout the city in locations where there is a high concentration of bicycle riders. The new bike lanes have a wider buffer between riders and car doors. In 2012-2013, significant bicycle lane construction took place in the downtown area on both Kinzie Street and Dearborn Street. The lanes on Dearborn even have a separate traffic signal for bicyclists.
As of today, Chicago has hundreds of miles of marked bicycle lanes. The "Chicago Streets for Cycling plan 2020" has the goal of having 645 miles of bicycle lanes in place by the end of 2020. Part of the goal is to have bike lanes available within a half-mile of every Chicago resident. The city’s goal is to build more protected bicycle lanes than any other urban area in the United States.
While safety efforts are so important and will no doubt make bicycling safer in Chicago, in reality many of these accidents will continue to occur. Our city streets get busier every year. More Chicagoans are riding bicycles as a primary means of transportation, both to commute to work and for recreational purposes.
What Are Common Injuries From Bicycle Dooring Accidents?
These bike accidents can cause serious injuries, such as:
- Fractured bones, sometimes requiring surgery to repair
- Back and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Lacerations that result in scarring
- Torn ligaments, such as a torn rotator cuff or meniscus
In October, 2012 there was a public outcry in Chicago when a bicyclist was killed due to a car door swinging open. The bicyclist swerved to avoid the door, and was struck by a passing commercial truck. This tragic accident helped raise awareness of bicycle doorings.
Taxicab vs. Bicycle Dooring Accidents
One common type of dooring bike accident involves taxicab passengers. Cab drivers often allow passengers to disembark in the middle of busy city streets, failing to pull their taxi over to the curb. This results in the taxicab door swinging open into bicycle lanes or the paths of bike riders lawfully riding in the street.
Often cab companies try to point the finger at taxi passengers for not carefully opening the door. In reality, the taxi driver shouldn't have allowed the person to get out of the vehicle in traffic.
Our bicycle dooring collision lawyers in Chicago have pursued several of these cases. Cab companies always fight these cases, and we sometimes have to take them to court, but they eventually pay.
Illinois Law Covering Bicycle Dooring Accidents
The Illinois Vehicle Code, 625 ILCS 5/11-1407, in pertinent part states as follows:
"Opening and closing vehicle doors. No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic. Nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers."
If a driver violates this law, it is negligent conduct and an injured bike rider has the right to pursue an action. The cyclist can work with a bike dooring accident attorney in Chicago to recover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and loss of normal life that occur as a result.
Free Consultation With A Bike Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a bicycle accident that was caused by a negligent driver or passenger opening a car door into traffic, contact an experienced Chicago bicycle dooring accident lawyer at Abels & Annes, P.C. for a free consultation. You may be entitled to financial compensation that can help you recover from the devastation of your accident.
The dedicated attorneys at our office have been handing bicycle cases for years. As a result, we know how to get the relief that our clients deserve. Contact us through this website, or call us toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442) or locally at (312) 924-7575 for a free consultation.