Illinois to track doorings

The state of Illinois will now track doorings in their crash data, according the Chicago Tribune.

The Active Transportation Alliance has been asking the Illinois Depart of Transportation (IDOT) to track dooring collisions, but IDOT declined because, they say, they never heard from the public on the issue.

Illinois Governor Pat Quin ordered the state agency to track doorings after reading a story in the Tribune on IDOT’s long standing policy. Previously, IDOT categorized doorings as solo bicycle crashes against a stationary objects.

A dooring occurs when a driver or passenger inside of a car opens a door immediately in front of moving traffic. When a bus or car catches an open door, the result is damage to both vehicles and, occasionally, an injured door opener. When a cyclist hits a door that’s suddenly thrust open, the result can be a grievous injury or fatality for the cyclist. Deaths can occur when the cyclist is pushed or falls into adjacent traffic because of the opening door.

Opening a door in front of any kind of traffic — including bicycles — is prohibited by the Illinois Vehicle Code 625 ILCS 5/11‑1407:

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.

The onus is on the car occupant to prevent these door crashes, but cyclists can avoid doorings by riding outside of the “door zone.” Ride defensively by riding beyond the length of an open car door — at least four or five feet — when bicycling next to parallel parked cars.

Steven plans to use this data for his bicycle crash map. It should be interesting to see how many more dots we’ll see compared to existing crash data.

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