April 24, 2011
Dangerous collisions caused by the doors of parked vehicles opening into the path of bicyclists will for the first time be counted as crashes in Illinois, under a change ordered by Gov. Pat Quinn.
The new rules, which officials said will be announced Monday and take effect immediately, require police departments across the state to record “dooring” accidents on Illinois traffic crash forms.
The dooring data will be incorporated into annual traffic accident summaries compiled by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Officials described the policy shift as a starting point to help reduce dooring crashes, which can result in injuries and deaths.
Quinn sought the change after reading a March 21 Chicago Tribune story. The article reported on a long-standing IDOT policy to exclude dooring crashes from annual state traffic accident statistics because the motor vehicles involved in such collisions are not moving.
“Anyone who rides a bike can tell you that dooring is a serious issue,” Quinn said. “One of the best ways we can increase public safety is by making sure we’ve got the best and most comprehensive data possible. That’s why we’ve made this change.”
The Active Transportation Alliance, a safety advocacy group that represents bicyclists, had appealed to IDOT officials, without success, since last year to collect dooring data as a means to understand the extent of the problem.
It turns out, the PR/Advertising graduate students at DePaul University have started a social change campaign on the issue of dooring. Check out their website at http://www.checkdontwreck.com!