A Chicago Tribune article reports that there has been a 50 percent increase in crashes between bicyclists and motor vehicle doors between 2014 and 2015. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were 302 crashes in 2015 versus 202 crashes in 2014. Chicago personal injury lawyer, Peter Zneimer observes that many of the painted on bike lanes in the city of Chicago run parallel and close to the parked cars so that when a person opens their car door they open it across the bike lane. The attorneys of Zneimer and Zneimer handle many such cases and they almost always involve a motorist who is not looking for bicyclists. The bicyclist is usually thrown to the pavement and in the worst case scenario is thrown in front of moving traffic.
The city of Chicago does have an ordinance making it a violation to open a car door in the path of a bicyclist, with fines as much as $1,000.00. Additionally, the City has constructed 100 mile of protected bike lanes since 2011. Protected bike lanes are the safest option but they cost money. Furthermore, many Chicago streets are not amenable to be retrofitted with protected bike lanes.
With many more bicyclists on the roads than in the past, motorist need to get in the habit of looking for bicyclists. Bicyclists can do their part too by wear bright clothes that make them more visible and by having lights on their bikes for night riding. Since a set of bike lights only costs about $10.00 there is no excuse for night riders not to have them.
If you or a family member has been involved in a bike accident, call the lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer for a free evaluation of your case.