The Chicago cyclist advocacy group Active Transportation Alliance has declared dooring accidents “the most prevalent threat to on-street cyclists”. Dooring occurs when a person parks their car and opens the driver side car door without looking right into the path of a bicyclist. The bicyclist goes down hard onto the street. The Chicago bicyclist lawyers of Zneimer and Zneimer have found that more than half of their bicycle injury cases are caused this way. Chicago bicyclist are especially at risk because even where there are painted bike lanes on the street, the bike lanes run parallel to parked cars. More progressive cities such as Portland, Oregon and Amsterdam, Netherlands have bike lanes that are separated from moving traffic and car doors. In Chicago, the bicyclists are right out in traffic, riding as close as possible to parked cars to avoid getting hit by moving cars. The risk to Chicago bicyclists is not only will they fall down hard on to the pavement but there is even a more serious risk that the cyclist will be knocked off their bike and thrown in front of moving traffic and get run over by a car, truck or bus.
Jon Hilkevitch of the Chicago Tribune recently wrote an article regarding biking in Chicago where he pointed out that even though dooring is one of the greatest hazards to bicyclists, these types of accidents are not tracked by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT)
The only safe solution to this problem are separated, protected bike lanes not just painted lines on the street.