The data on the Chicago bike crash map comes from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) after reports are made to the Chicago Police Department, but it’s missing certain types of crashes. IDOT currently will not collect data about doorings.
Some Chicago cyclists created this sticker to alert drivers and their passengers to the dangers of the door. “Someone opened a door and killed my friend.” This is version 1 of the sticker; see version 2. Photo by Quinn Dombrowski.
Here’s a summary of the process:
1. Police officers make the reports
Chicago police officers collect information on dooring (outlawed by MCC 9-80-035) because of a recent agreement with the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) – the importance of reporting doorings became a bigger priority after someone died after being doored on LaSalle Street in 2008.
When there is a dooring, Chicago police officers use an “Additional Units Form” in addition to SR-1050 (standard reporting form for Illinois motor vehicle crashes) and write “dooring” where the IDOT barcode would be on the Additional Units Form.
2. How the Chicago Police Department records it
When the Chicago Police Records Office sees that there’s no barcode they know they can’t send it to IDOT, but they see “dooring” and scan it for their own records (so they can provide it to crash parties later) and then email that number to the CDOT Bicycle Program. (There was a general order put out by CPD on this procedure and, yes, they actually send them– at least some of them.)
The CPD also knows that doorings, according to IDOT, are not a “reportable” crash. In addition to doorings, IDOT doesn’t consider the following as “reportable” crashes:
- Any crash in which the first point of impact does not involve a moving motor vehicle.
- Any non-injury crash which causes less than $1500 in property damage, unless one or more of the drivers was uninsured.
3. CDOT and Chicago Police Department connect
CDOT can then connect to the Police Departments records system, download a scan of the crash report, reads it and enters specifics into a tracking spreadsheet.
This is how dooring data is collected in Chicago because IDOT will throw away reports or attachments without barcodes. This should change. This process affects ALL cities in the State of Illinois but as far as I’m aware, only Chicago records doorings. It’s unfortunate that local agencies are forced to bear this additional task and provide special training for thousands of officers outside of statewide practices because IDOT doesn’t acknowledge the importance of this issue and revise its reporting policy.
Below is the SR-1050 form and you can see the IDOT barcode with the case number below it. The bike and pedestrian crash data I have from IDOT includes those case numbers.
Read more about doorings on Grid Chicago.