Illinois now collecting data on 'dooring' bike crashes

April 25, 2011

The State of Illinois is trying to collect data on crashes between bicyclists and open car doors. Cyclists call it "dooring." It's when a cyclist runs smack into a car door that suddenly swings into their path , often because the driver didn't look before opening the door.
 
That's what sent Laurie Chipps to the emergency room one night in December 2010.
 
"The door opened, and I was able to move enough that my bicycle did not hit the door, but I hit the door," Chipps said. "And then I flew over the handlebars and landed about a car and a half ahead of it."
 
Chipps said she was out of the saddle for six weeks with a sprained hip and a broken collarbone.
 
Chicago had 72 reported dooring crashes last year, according to the city. But that likely represents just a fraction of such collissions, as many go unreported, say city and transportation officials.
 
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's Monday directive means that law enforcement agencies across the state are supposed to make special note of dooring accidents when they write up reports, which are later handed over to the state. Illinois did not previously categorize such accidents because they don't generally involve a moving vehicle.
 
“As more people are riding bicycles and embracing other green modes of transportation, we need to ensure that Illinois collects data that presents a complete picture of what is happening on our roads,” Quinn said in a statement.
 
Daniel Persky, with the Active Transportation Alliance, said having reliable, state-wide data could help make streets safer, as law enforcement will better be able to pinpoint which streets and intersections are riskiest.
 
He said the data could help groups like his get money to prevent dooring.