Illinois has become one of the leading states to put protections in place for bike riders on city streets and roads. One of the most common causes of bicycle accidents in Illinois is known as “dooring.” Dooring occurs when a motorist opens a door and accidentally hits an oncoming bike rider. The motorist is likely not watching out for bike riders as he or she opens a door, and this leaves little time for a bike rider to avoid ramming into the door. Illinois is one of few states to implement “Anti-Dooring” laws that are aimed at preventing this type of harm to bike riders.
On April 25, 2011, Illinois revised the state law to ensure that “dooring” was considered a form of crash. Those who are involved in “dooring” accidents are required to file a report with the Illinois police department. This also means that bike riders who are injured in dooring accidents may be eligible to receive compensation for their injuries.
If you have been involved in a bike dooring accident, then you can immediately call one of our Illinois personal injury lawyers for help with your case. Whether you want to know the appropriate next step or receive a free case evaluation, our attorneys are ready to help in your time of need.Chicago’s “Anti-Dooring” Laws and Application to Bike Riders
Chicago has made it clear that severe penalties will be enforced against drivers who violate anti-dooring laws and other protections in place for bike riders. Chicago has adopted a Bicycle Safety Ordinance, and there has been a positive response to the ordinance in the community.
Under the ordinance, motorists who open a car door into an oncoming bicyclist must now pay a fine of $1,000. Previously, the fine was $500 for dooring an oncoming bicyclist. Other traffic offenses carry fines of $50 to $200 per violation.
Taxi drivers are also now required to take greater precautions to become conscious of oncoming bicyclists. They must use stickers that state, “Look! Before Opening Your Door.” Stickers like this remind taxi cab drivers of their duty to act as careful drivers on the road, and how this duty includes refraining from harming oncoming bike riders by opening a cab door in their path.Negligence of Motorists Parked in City Streets
Motorists often open a door into the path of bicycle riders through negligence. They may forget that Chicago has adopted strict ordinances aimed at preventing acts like “dooring.” In the morning commute, it can be easy for motorists to forget about these ordinances and simply be negligent when they open a door into the path of an oncoming bike rider.
Bike riders can also play a part in helping motorists to remember their role in abiding by the ordinance. Bike riders should always try to prevent dooring accidents by:
- Wearing bright clothing and other visible items
- Ensuring that a bike is equipped with reflectors and lights at night
- Being ready to “ride on the defensive” and avoid riding by parked cars that contain passengers
- Avoid riding on streets on which commuters tend to park in the morning
Even if a rider does not take any of these measures, he or she will still likely be able to recover damages in a dooring case. Motorists have the greatest amount of power to take preventative measures so that bike riders are not harmed in dooring accidents. It is the duty of every motorist to check a path before he or she decides to open a door. Motorists should also ensure that all passengers are informed of the ordinance and properly exit a vehicle to avoid hitting a bike rider.Steps to Take in Dooring Cases
If you are harmed in a dooring case, then you should be ready to respond. It is important for you to take the following steps:
- Record the license plate number to prevent fleeing from the accident
- Call the Illinois police department
- File a report with the police
- Contact your insurance company
- Speak with an Illinois bicycle accident lawyer
Contact an Illinois personal injury lawyer to discuss your bike dooring accident today. You may wish to get in touch with a lawyer before you speak with an insurance company. Our Illinois bicycle accident lawyers are experienced in dealing with insurance companies and can protect you from making any mistakes when you go to speak with an insurance company. We are here to help you or an injured bicyclist that you may know in filing his or her claim.