State of Illinois to Start Tracking Bicycle ‘Dooring’ Collisions

The Chicago Tribune of April 24 reported in an article titled “Illinois to start tracking bicycle ‘dooring’ collisions” that the state will start tracking bicycle accidents including “dooring.”

The data will be incorporated into annual traffic accident summaries compiled by IDOT, the Illinois Department of Transportation.  This policy is being implemented to help reduce “dooring” crashes, which have resulted in injuries and, in some cases, deaths.

Governor Pat Quinn sought the policy change after reading a March 21 Chicago Tribune story, in which the IDOT policy to exclude dooring crashes from annual state traffic accident statistics was detailed.  Previously, such “dooring” accidents were excluded because such collisions do not include a moving car.

“Anyone who rides a bike can tell you that dooring is a serious issue,” Quinn said. “One of the best ways we can increase public safety is by making sure we’ve got the best and most comprehensive data possible. That’s why we’ve made this change.”

The Active Transportation Alliance, a safety advocacy group that represents bicyclists, had previously unsuccessfully appealed to IDOT officials to collect dooring data as a means to understand the extent of the problem.

According to a Chicago Tribune story of March 20, “From 2005 through 2009, there was an average of more than 3,500 crashes each year between vehicles and bicyclists in Illinois, resulting in 18 to 27 cyclists killed and more than 3,300 injured annually, according to IDOT statistics.”

“Dooring” of bicyclists can take various forms, but typically involves a motorist opening his or her car door in front of the path of a bicyclist.  This causes the bicyclist to frontally impact the car door, which has the potential to seriously injure the cyclist.  This type of accident is most prevalent when cars are parked and/or parallel parked along city streets.