A Chicago bicycle courier has received a personal injury settlement arising from a dooring incident in April. My law firm represents the injured bicyclist.
At around 5:30 p.m. on April 28th the cyclist was making a food delivery on his bike, riding south in the designated bike lane on North Halsted Street in Chicago. It was to be an easy ride from a take-out restaurant at 800 West Fullerton Parkway to a customer’s home near the 1600 block of North Halsted. He wore a helmet and his bike was in good working condition. At the same time, a driver had parked her 2003 Infiniti coupe along the right curb in front of 2048 North Halsted. As the bicyclist peddled south, suddenly and without warning the driver, failing to look for bicycle traffic in the bike lane, flung her driver’s side door open directly into his path. Only a few feet away when the door opened, the rider tried to brake and steer to his left to avoid it but clipped the door with his right hand. The collision threw him to the left into motor vehicle traffic where he was struck by a passing car. That second impact caused him to crash hard onto the road. The passing vehicle did not stop. The bicyclist sustained three fractured ribs.
The second vehicle that struck the bike courier could not be found and the entire settlement was paid by the driver that opening her door into the cyclist's path. By opening her door into a bike lane in which the bicyclist was traveling, the driver violated both Illinois statute and a Chicago ordinance which state that:
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.
Being struck by a wayward car door is one of the most common causes of bicycle crashes in Chicago. To read about how to avoid getting "doored" while biking in the city click here.