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Dooring Bicycle Accidents in Illinois

Posted on in Bicycle Accidents

Illinois personal injury lawyer, Illinois wrongful death attorney, Illinois car accident lawyer, Illinois bicycle accident lawyer, “Dooring” is one of the most common types of bicycle accidents that occur in Illinois today. This type of accident refers to any incident in which a cyclist is riding on a road and runs into an open — or opening — door of a parked car. Most often this accident is the fault of the motorist, who does not look before opening the driver’s door of the vehicle, and opens the door of the car into an oncoming bicycle.

While bike lanes have helped to reduce the number of bike accidents, in many cases they can actually make the possibility of these incidents greater, because the cyclist is less likely to be paying full attention. Some cyclist advocate agencies argue that bike lanes lead to a false sense of security for cyclists. As such, it is increasingly important that cyclists pay full attention at all times while riding in a busy car city, such as Chicago, even and perhaps especially when riding in bike lanes.

The dangers of bike lanes include, but are not limited to:

  • Motorists misunderstanding the role of bicycle operation in traffic;
  • The placement of bike lanes on steep hills or in precarious traffic patterns, in which a motorist is unable to see oncoming bike traffic;
  • The necessary mandatory routing of bike lanes to turn to the right in front of right-turning traffic; and
  • The placement of bike lanes in the door zone of parked cars.

Somewhat surprisingly, the rate of dooring incidents are not tracked by the Illinois Department of Transportation. That is, we do not know exactly how many such incidents occur, where they occur, and as such cyclists are not sure of when or where to be more aware of the danger. Without such statistic tracking, cyclist advocate groups are unable to apply for either federal or state traffic safety funds to address the problem. There are laws, however, that punish motorists who are responsible for dooring incidents. For example, Chicago passed a law in 2008 law which requires motorists who are responsible for such an accident to pay a fine ranging from $150 to $500.

Even this law, of course, cannot erase or account for the roughly 25 cyclists killed annually in the state of Illinois, or the more than 3,000 people annually injured. If you have been injured in a cycling accident, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Do not go through it alone. Contact an experienced  Lake County accident attorney today.

Sources:

http://labreform.org/blunders/b5.html

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-03-20/classified/ct-met-getting-around-0221-20110320_1_dooring-clinton-miceli-bicyclists

http://www.wbez.org/news/map-where-are-chicagos-bike-dooring-accidents-happening-102939

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