Chicago Car-Dooring Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Bicycle dooring accidents are increasingly common as more people are choosing the healthier and greener option of riding a bike versus piling into their car.
Dooring accidents occur when a person in a motor vehicle opens their door without checking for approaching bicyclists, causing the cyclist to either hit the open door or swerve into traffic to avoid it. Although many localities have bicycle-dooring laws, many motorists still recklessly open their vehicle doors into the path of these unsuspecting bicyclists and cause bicycle crashes with the person bicycling.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has experience with bicycle dooring cases involving injured cyclists in Chicago and across Illinois. If you were injured when a motorist opened their vehicle door into your path of travel, the bicycle accident attorneys of our law firm can help and even offer a free consultation. Let us get compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages.
Miles of Bike Lanes in the Chicagoland Area
Chicago installed miles of bike lanes to minimize cyclist injuries in bike accidents in the dense urban area of town over the last decade. However, many of these bike lanes are located alongside cars parked parallel to the street. A cyclist crashing into an open car door could result in a traumatic brain injury, broken bones, or wrongful death.
Distracted motorists might not realize the bike rider has the right-of-way or never look in their rearview mirror before opening the car door into the pathway of an approaching biker. Even an injury-free dooring incident in Cook County could cause property damage to the biker's equipment.
Prevalence of Chicago Bike Dooring Collisions
In many states, including Illinois, bicyclists are legally required to ride on the far-right side of the road. Streets and roadways that have bicycle lanes that are generally installed in this same area between parked cars and the curb.
The paths are designed to protect bicyclists from being involved in a motor vehicle collision. However, the design increases the chance of these bicyclists being injured in a dooring accident.
Not all dooring collisions are tracked in the United States. However, Chicago is one of the few cities that does keep such statistics. In 2016, the city of Chicago reported that there were 312 bicycle dooring collisions.
However, these are only the reported cases. Some accidents may not be logged as “doorings” collisions. If the cyclists swerved into traffic to avoid an open car door, the bike rider might have been injured in a motor vehicle collision.
Bicycle Dooring Laws in Illinois
Chicago is one of the first cities in the nation to enact an ordinance against opening a vehicle door without first checking for oncoming bicycle traffic. According to the Municipal Code of Chicago:
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.
Violators of the law can be subject to a $150 fine if opening the car door interferes with the movement of a bicycle. The violater could receive a $500 fine if opening the door causes a bicycle and motor vehicle collision. However, these fines are relatively low compared to the financial costs of medical treatment and the pain and suffering the victim endured.
Dooring Injuries Commonly Sustained by Illinois Cyclists
According to accident statistics collected by the State of Illinois for bicycle accidents in 2017, over 83% of dooring crashes that were reported caused serious injury to the bicyclist. These injuries can leave the bicyclist with medical bills, lost time from work, and in a great deal of pain.
In almost all dooring accidents, the person in the motor vehicle that opened the door is to blame. By law, the driver at-fault should be responsible for any financial costs of the accident.
Statistics maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that nearly one-third of all cyclists accidents that injure the bike rider involved a vehicle. In 2018, 857 cyclists lost their lives in bike riding accidents in the United States. All these crashes could have been prevented had either the cyclist or the driver followed the rules of sharing the roadway or bike lane.
The Illinois Department of Transportation regulates traffic laws involving bicycle riding on public thoroughfares. Cyclists must obey the traffic laws, signals, and signs that motor vehicle drivers do.
Also, bicyclists are required to follow the rules of the road when riding or walking their bikes on the sidewalk or inside a crosswalk. The cyclist must yield the right-of-way to anyone on the sidewalk or pedestrians in a crosswalk.
Illinois vehicle code states that every right turn must be made from the right lane while the cyclists ride along the edge or curb of the roadway. The bicyclist must use arm signals when making a left hand or right-hand turn, or when coming to a stop.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Dooring Accidents
In the following section, we have organized some answers to common questions that personal injury victims of car-dooring accidents in Chicago typically ask us.
What is Dooring a Cyclist?
Dooring is when bicyclists are struck when a motorist of a passenger vehicle or other motor vehicle opens the door into their lane or path of traffic. It is also referred to as a cyclist-vehicle door opening collision.
Who is at Fault when a Cyclist Gets Doored in Chicago?
The motorist is responsible for all injuries and damages if the cyclist was legally riding and following all Illinois rules and regulations at the time of the accident.
What Happens when a Car Hits a Biker?
In Chicago, cyclists can bring a lawsuit against the drivers and owners of motor vehicles that hit them for financial compensation and recover monetary damages if they can show the defendant was at fault for bicycle accident.
What is the Dutch Reach Method?
The Dutch Reach method is a safety technique drivers use to avoid hitting bicyclists as they open their door and exit their motor vehicles. They open the door with the hand furthest away from the handle of the car.
How do you Recover From a Chicago Bike Accident?
To recover after a Chicago bicycle accident, it is very important that cyclists get proper rest, diet, rehabilitation, medication, and exercise.
What are the Most Common Bicycle Injuries in Chicago?
The most common injuries in Chicago bicycle accidents include concussion, other brain injuries, broken bones, disc aggravation, knee and joint damages and tears, and even death.
Bicycle Dooring Injury Lawyers Serving Chicago, IL Victims
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a bicycle dooring accident, you deserve to be compensated for the costs of the accident. Even if the perpetrator flees the scene, you may be able to be compensated through your own uninsured motorist insurance policy.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC, we will fight for your rights to receive fair financial compensation for the pain and suffering you have had to endure due to the recklessness of someone else. Jonathan Rosenfeld provides a free legal consultation to discuss your case and will not charge you a fee unless you receive a monetary payout.
Our bike accident attorneys represent clients throughout Illinois including Aurora, Elgin, Naperville, Lake County, Cook County, Will County, and throughout Chicagoland. With our years of experience, every personal injury lawyer is available to discuss the merits of our claim. We can build a strong case on your behalf to ensure you are compensated by the driver's insurance company. Call us today at 888-424-5757 to find out what you may be entitled to recover!