Hazards are inescapable for bicyclists — motorists, weather, road conditions and pedestrians can all serve as safety hazards. But there is one common risk we tend to overlook — dooring. Over the past several years Chicago bike accident attorneys at Abels & Annes have settled several cases on behalf of Illinois bicyclists that were injured by opening car doors.
As we recently reported on our Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Blog, officials have strengthened laws in Illinois to help keep cyclists safe. However, the Chicago Tribune reported that state transportation officials initially rejected pleas from cycling advocates to keep tabs on dooring incidents; advocates consider it to be one of the most common types of bike accidents in Chicago and elsewhere.
Our Chicago personal injury lawyers urge bicyclists to keep an eye out for careless motorists. While the state has now agreed to track the issue, it will take more public awareness to reduce the number of instances in which a motorist carelessly opens a door into the path of a rider.
“We were never against collecting the data. There was never really any large effort to make us aware that doorings could be an issue,” IDOT spokesman Guy Tridgell said.
A new article in the Chicago Tribune reports that a change ordered by Gov. Pat Quinn will now require that collisions caused by the doors of parked vehicles opening into the path of bicyclists be counted as crashes in Illinois. The new rule is effective immediately and requires that police departments across the state now record these dooring accidents on Illinois traffic crash forms.
“Anyone who rides a bike can tell you that dooring is a serious issue,” said Gov. Pat Quinn. “One of the best ways we can increase public safety is by making sure we’ve got the best and most comprehensive data possible. That’s why we’ve made this change.”
This new line of accident data will be incorporated into annual traffic reports created by the Illinois Department of Transportation. As dooring accidents often cause serious injury or death, recording the data will allow officials to create a policies and prevention initiatives.
“We hope to use the data to obtain funding for education safety so drivers as well as bicyclists know what the risks are and what the factors are to create safer roadways,” said Dan Persky, director of education at the Active Transportation Alliance.
If you have been 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.