Cyclist 'Doorings' Increased Nearly 50 Percent In 2015, According To New Stats
By Emma G. Gallegos in News on Apr 27, 2017 5:50PM
"Doorings" were up nearly 50 percent in 2015 from 2014, according to the latest data out from the Illinois Department of Transportation. There were 202 reports of dooring incidents in 2014, and 302 in 2015.
When someone in a parked vehicle opens a door into the path of an incoming cyclist, it is a life or death issue. The cyclist faces serious injury if they ride into the door and death if they swerve out into traffic. IDOT has been tracking these crashes since 2011, when there were 337 reported doorings. Gradually that number has been going down until 2015, the latest year that it has released this information to the public. (You can find the data here.)
The number of bike crashes also went up in a year from 1,664 to 1,720. That means that the proportion of crashes that were reported as doorings went up from 12 percent to 17.5 percent. That's just a little bit lower than in 2011 when 19.2 percent of crashes were doorings.
Jim Merrell of Active Transportation Alliance, which is working with the city on its Vision Zero plan to eliminate serious injury and death from traffic crashes by 2026, said it's tough to figure out exactly what these numbers could mean. He says his organization is trying to analyze what might have caused the uptick, so they can address it. In an analysis of the data, he writes:
The increase in reported doorings may reflect a few different underlying trends, such as a growth in the overall amount of cycling, better data collection from law enforcement, or an increase in the number of people calling police after a crash.
The greater number of doorings is probably a combination of these or other causes and effects. But without a more rigorous analysis and more reliable data we really can’t say for sure.
The Chicago Tribune notes that the city has taken concrete steps to prevent doorings. Since 2011, the city has added 100 miles of protected bike lanes, which have barriers or even just a buffer space between bike lanes and parked cars. The city has also distributed window decals reminding cab passengers to be mindful of traffic before they open their door. The fine for opening a door in the path of a cyclist is currently $1,000.