Monday, July 30, 2018

Chicago Bicyclist Luster Jackson Struck By Car After Avoiding Dooring

7200 Block of South Stony Island
Chicago bicyclist Luster Jackson was killed in a scenario that is a constant fear of Chicago bicyclists. Luster was riding his bike northbound in the 7200 block of South Stony Island. According to the Sun-Times, as he was riding a driver opened their car door into Luster's path. The bicyclist swerved to avoid the car door and Luster was fatally struck by an approaching vehicle.

According to the report, the driver of the vehicle that fatally struck Jackson was issued a traffic citation. However, given the scenario described in the article, there may have been traffic violations on the part of the driver opening their car door into Luster's path and on the part of the driver that fatally struck him.

Illinois Law Requires At Least 3 Feet When Passing A Bicyclist

Illinois law requires a minimum of three feet when passing a bicyclist. So any oncoming car on Stony Island should have given at least three feet of room to the bicyclist as they approached. The "3-Foot Rule" comes from sub-paragraph (d) of Section 11-703 of the Illinois Rules of the Road. This statute provides as follows:

(625 ILCS 5/11‑703) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11‑703) Sec. 11‑703. Overtaking a vehicle on the left. The following rules govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to those limitations, exceptions, and special rules otherwise stated in this Chapter:
(d) The operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle or individual proceeding in the same direction on a highway shall leave a safe distance, but not less than 3 feet, when passing the bicycle or individual and shall maintain that distance until safely past the overtaken bicycle or individual.
Key language in the statute is obviously that there must be a minimum 3 feet between the bicycle and the motor vehicle when the motorist passes the bicycle. But note that the statute also requires that this distance of 3 feet must be maintained until the motorist is "safely past" the overtaken bicyclist.

City of Chicago and State of Illinois Laws Prohibit Doorings

In addition to Municipal Code of Chicago, the Illinois Vehicle Code states that it is illegal to open a car door into traffic. A bicycle is a vehicle under Illinois law and is considered "traffic." Section 11-1407 of the Illinois Vehicle Code states:

“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.”
Tragic Loss of a Chicago Bicyclist

Tragically, another Chicago bicyclist has lost their life. What is somewhat unique about this case is that it involves the actions of two other vehicles that created a "worst case scenario." Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Luster Jackson. May he rest in peace.