More often than you would think, opening a car door is a danger to bicyclists. They are called “dooring accidents” – when a bicyclist rides head-on into an open car door or swerves into traffic to avoid the door and collides with another motor vehicle. For example, dooring accidents caused:
- 344 cycling injuries – a fifth of all cycling injuries – right here in Chicago in 2011.
Bicycling accidents are of particular concern in Chicago because bicycles are an increasingly popular mode of transportation. The city reported a 150 percent increase in bicycling commuters from 2000 to 2012, giving Chicago more bicycle commuters per capita than either New York or Los Angeles. Correspondingly, the number of injury crashes leaped 27 percent – from 1,236 in 2005 to 1,566 – in 2010.
What can you do to prevent dooring accidents?
Growing in popularity is a simple maneuver called “the Dutch Reach.” Developed in the Netherlands, which has one of the lowest bicycle fatality rates in the world, the practice calls on motorists and passengers to open their car door with their far hand. As a result, they automatically turn their body and position their head to view approaching bicycles and other vehicles.
In addition, ride-sharing company Uber has begun a pilot program, including an app feature, to address this largely overlooked danger to bicyclists.
“As the experts say, increasing awareness of safe behavior increases safety,” Kristin Smith, the company’s road safety project manager, wrote in a blog post. “Along with the in-app notifications to riders, we will also remind drivers it’s illegal to stop in a bike lane in most cities and encourage them to safely coordinate pickups and drop-offs away from bike lanes.”
Injured? Knock on the door of an experienced attorney
If you’ve been injured in a dooring accident, you may be facing a lengthy recovery period or even lifelong injuries. As you struggle to pay bills and provide for your family, an insurance company will try to take advantage of your situation, making a lowball financial offer that fails to cover your present or future expenses. Legally, the motorist who injured you may blame you for the accident.
The Chicago-area bicycle accident lawyers at Coplan + Crane, based in Oak Park, know that you are suffering from physical, mental, emotional and financial stress. We know local and state laws in Illinois. From handling cases just like yours, we also know someone else likely was at fault and will thoroughly investigate your accident to hold them accountable. We will work tirelessly to relieve your burden and secure your future.
Protect your rights by contacting us today for a free case consultation.