Illinois will finally begin tracking dooring bike crashes

Governor Quinn made a rule change today requiring Illinois police departments to record dooring-type bicycle crashes on the SR-1050 motorist crash reporting form, according to Jon Hilkevitch of the Chicago Tribune. The announcement will be made tomorrow.

Apparently, Gov. Quinn read the Chicago Tribune’s article on March 21st about how the Illinois Department of Transportation could not and would not collect information on dooring crashes. I first wrote about this data deficiency on March 11.

For now, responding police officers will have to write DOORING next to the bicyclist’s name on the crash reporting form (the Chicago Police method was to write DOORING on a second piece of paper and record this data internally – IDOT would not accept the second page). The Tribune article explains that IDOT already ordered a bunch of new forms and won’t make a new order until 2013 at which time the form will have a checkbox making this process much simpler.

I would like to thank Governor Quinn, writer Jon Hilkevitch, Amanda Woodall, the Active Transportation Alliance, and all who contacted IDOT asking for their reporting standards to be changed to record dooring crashes. This means that next year you’ll see bike crash maps with a ton more dots – those of doorings, unless we continue educating ourselves, family and friends about riding AWAY from the door zone.

Why collecting this data is important

From the article:

[Active Transportation] Alliance officials said dooring accidents are common, basing the conclusion on reports from bicyclists. But without a standardized statewide reporting system, there has been no way to accurately quantify the problem or pinpoint locations where such accidents frequently occur and where modifications to street layouts would help, alliance officials said.

“We hope to use the data to obtain funding for education safety so drivers as well as bicyclists know what the risks are and what the factors are to create safer roadways,” said Dan Persky, director of education at the alliance.

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Ride out of the door zone. Illustration by Gary Kavanagh.

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About Steven Vance

Enthusiast for urbanism, bicycling as transportation, and open data. Building a bicycle culture in Chicago.
  • http://www.facebook.com/reallyboring Eric Rogers

    Awesome, and congrats! I’m sure your attention to this issue is a big part of why this change is being made.

    • http://www.stevevance.net/planning Steven Vance

      Thank, you. This is exactly what I and many other people wanted to happen. Active Transportation Alliance was even considering legislation to force IDOT to collect this data, but thankfully, with the Governor’s directive, we’ll get what’s important sooner rather than later. It will take a long time, though, for the other police departments to understand doorings and how it affects the reporting form. (I imagine that there are some police departments that will never see a dooring in their lifetime.)