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Chicago-area bicycle door accidents are higher than ever

Bicycle "dooring accidents" happen when a motorist parked on the side of the road opens his or her car door as a bicyclist passes by. The door opens into the bicyclist's path and a serious collision happens.

Injuries associated with these accidents can be catastrophic, life-altering and deadly. These entirely preventable accidents are real dangers that Chicago bicyclists face daily when they take to the road. Earlier this year, a study revealed that dooring incidents have increased by 50 percent in the Chicago area.

What do the statistics say about Chicago dooring accidents?

According to available statistics, 302 bicyclists were involved in dooring accidents in Chicago in 2015. This represents approximately a 50 percent rise compared to 2014, which saw 202 dooring incidents. This increase has puzzled analysts because dooring accidents had been declining from 2011 to 2014.

A representative from the Active Transportation Alliance isn't certain if the increase in dooring accidents is a reflection of more accidents or a reflection of better reporting. The representative suggested that victims may be reporting dooring incidents to police when they happen, and police could be exhibiting more diligence in noting when a dooring event occurs and enforcing laws that apply to these events.

Time for a change: The current dooring accident figures are unacceptable

Considering that the vast majority of dooring accidents can be avoided if drivers are more diligent to look behind them before opening the door of their parked vehicles, the fact that 302 bicyclists were "doored" in 2015 is completely unacceptable.

Even worse, considering that not all of these events get reported - either because police don't classify the event as a dooring or because no serious injuries were involved - the problem is likely a lot more serious than 302 accidents per year.

In the Chicago area, 1,720 bicycle versus car accidents happened in 2015. This also represented a 3 percent increase from 2014's numbers. Considering these high numbers, it's vital that Windy City motorists start taking a cold, hard look at how they could be endangering cyclists, while correcting their behavior to prevent catastrophic and fatal accidents. Motorists should also need to consider how they will be held financially, and in some cases criminally, liable for the bicycle accidents and related injuries they cause.

If you have suffered injuries while biking, speak with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible.

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