Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Defendant, Chicago Police Officer's Claim To CBS News That Bicyclist "Did Not Have The Right Of Way" Is Nonsense

Tina Danzy was doored by a police officer while
in the bike lane near the Chicago Police Department
Headquarters on S. Blue Island
On Saturday, CBS Chicago reported on a lawsuit our firm filed on behalf of Tina Danzy who was doored by a Chicago police officer. Somewhat surprisingly, the officer involved gave an interview to the CBS reporter claiming that Ms. Danzy "did not have the right of way."  We were not contacted to comment on the story.

The collision occurred on April 10, 2014 at around 4:50 p.m.  The weather was clear and pleasant.  The sun was still shinning.  Ms. Danzy, a very experienced city cyclist, was riding her bicycle in the clearly marked, dedicated bicycle lane southwest on South Blue Island Avenue.  When she reached 1412 South Blue Island, the police officer who had parked her vehicle along the curb to the right of the bike lane suddenly opened her door into Ms. Danzy's path.  The door sprung opened so quickly that there was nothing she could do to avoid it.  She sustained a deep facial laceration requiring sutures and injuries to her tailbone, thigh and right hand.

The idea that Ms. Danzy "did not have the right of way" is nonsense.  Bicyclists have the right to travel along the right side of roadways in Chicago and utilize the bike lanes provided for that purpose.  Drivers on the other hand have a duty, under both the Illinois Vehicle Code and the Municipal Code of Chicago to look before opening their doors.  The Municipal Code states:
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.
Police officers have the same duty as the rest of the citizenry to follow the law.  The officer who injured Ms. Danzy failed to look for bicycle traffic in the bike lane which she undoubtedly knew was immediately to the left of her vehicle.  As a result, she caused the crash and the resulting injuries.

As noted, we have filed a lawsuit against the officer and her employer, The Chicago Police Department, and intend to get our client compensated for the harms inflicted upon her and losses she has experienced, including the medical bills she has incurred and cannot afford to pay. 

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