Over 300 cases of doorings in Chicago were reported in 2015, up nearly 50 percent from 2014. The Illinois Department of Transportation reports that there were 302 cases of doorings reported in 2015, 203 in 2014 and 270 in 2013. While alarming, the number reflects only those cases that are reported to police. The true number is likely far higher.
Despite being named America’s Best Bike City, Chicago bicyclists still must be vigilant when riding near parked cars. The fine for dooring in Chicago ranges from $150 to $500, and motorists can even be fined if the incident does not result in a crash. Simply by opening a car door in the path of an oncoming cyclist, the motorist is breaking the law. Although these laws are similar in many cities throughout the country, the laws are often not well known.
Injuries and damages incurred by doorings in Chicago and elsewhere can be significant. Often, bikers are thrust forward, into the immobile door, forcing them to stop short and incur injuries. These injuries can range from scrapes and abrasions to concussions and broken bones.
To report doorings in Chicag0…
Call 911 immediately and request that a police officer comes to the scene. If you are injured, request that an ambulance be sent, as well. Take down the name of the driver, as well as their address and insurance information. Also, note the make, model, and license number of the car. Ask the driver to wait with you until the police arrive on the scene.
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What if the motorist leaves?
If the motorist leaves the scene of the incident, do your best to jot down their license number and the make and model of their car. If you can, write down a physical description of the driver.
What will happen when the police officer arrives?
When the police officer arrives, report the dooring and exactly what occurred. Ensure that the police officer is aware that this is a dooring incident, and that they write your statement down for the record. This may be important, as incidents of dooring are tabulated throughout the year, and often infrastructure for bikers is changed based on areas where crashes routinely occur.
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What should I do about my injuries?
If you have been injured, you should seek appropriate medical care immediately. Be sure to photograph and note your injuries. If you have been severely injured, request an ambulance transport you to the hospital.
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How do I handle insurance?
Dooring can be a tricky situation. Although it is illegal in Chicago and many cities across the United States, it is not illegal everywhere and the laws are often not well known. If you have been injured in a dooring incident, it is best to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can work directly with the insurance company and work to ensure that your injuries and damages are covered. For a free consultation, contact an experienced bicycle attorney at Kass & Moses today to discuss doorings in Chicago or nationwide.