20. Survive. More than 25,000 people use bicycles to commute each day in Chicago. The city has more than 200 miles of protected bike lanes. This post, however, is once again about drivers. Obviously, general awareness of bicyclists in large cities is paramount. Let’s get more specific. After parking, before exiting your vehicle take five seconds and look at all your mirrors. By gosh even turn your head around. Look to see if there are any bikers zipping by on your left. They can materialize from the ether in a blink. We MUST be heedful of them. I’ve heard many, horrific accounts on what a car door can do to human on a bike. Like involuntarily manslaughter them.
Chicago Ordinance 9-80-035 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.”
Hitting a rider, or forcing them into a collision with another vehicle can result in $1000 fine, but obviously it can do much worse.
A good habit for drivers would be to open your door with your right hand, forcing you to turn your head to the left.
Please try it.
P.S. The news is reporting that a car has lost control and careened onto a sidewalk in Times Square.
Refer to my January archives. Blog Entry #3.