Friday, June 1, 2012

Carol Marin Admits to Dooring Biker

Veteran Chicago journalist Carol Marin admitted in a Sun-Times editorial that she was guilty of dooring a biker in Chicago. This event came up in a May 22nd article in the paper about the varying levels of safety that exist in the City for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians and the number of accidents and crashes that occur in the City. The Sun-Times columnist and television personality recounted the dooring as follows:
"Full disclosure here: I was involved in (a bicycle crash) earlier this year when I opened my car door at Starbucks and a poor biker crashed into it. I am now glued to my side-view mirror."
Ms. Marin uses some very careful language here about being "involved" and the victim being "a poor biker" who "crashed into her door." Based on a plain-language reading of this, it might be equally fair to say that Ms. Marin caused a bicycle accident when she violated the Chicago Municipal Code and swung her door open directly into the path of an oncoming bicyclist who could not stop in time or avoid the door. Section 9-80-035 of the Chicago Municipal Code covers "doorings":
Opening and closing vehicle doors
No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
Added Coun. J. 3-12-08, p. 22781, § 2
Ms. Marin doesn't mention if she got a ticket, but if she did this offense could result in a fine of $500.00 for causing a collision with a bicyclist. As Ms. Marin mentions in her article there were over 1600 reported collision between bicycles and cars in Chicago in 2010. And this is just the reported crashes. Ms. Marin certainly deserves credit for her candor and learning from her mistake. The journalist says she is now "glued to her side-view mirrror." Hopefully more motorists learn from their mistakes and from Ms. Marin's example and the City That Works can work for more bicyclists without bicycle accidents or bicycle crashes.

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. The firm provides free case evaluations with no obligation.