Transportation Nation

Data from Only State that Tracks Dooring Show Its Big Problem

Friday, September 28, 2012

(image courtesy of DOT)

Here's a little update on how prevalent "dooring" accidents are: very.

When we reported on NYC's new initiative to stop taxi passengers from hurting cyclists by reminding people not to open the car door when a bike rider is passing, we mentioned that Illinois is -- we think -- the only state to track dooring accidents as its own category. The Illinois Department of Transportation didn't get back to us with a request for dooring data, but Chicago writer Steven Vance did and he has access to IDOT's Data Mart, their online transpo data distribution site. He generously sent over the dooring data for Chicago, but also crunched the numbers on his site, Grid Chicago.

The results are  pretty shocking. In 2011, one in five bike crashes were caused by dooring.

  • In 2010, there were 127 reported dooring crashes, for a rate of 0.35 doorings per day. Doorings made up 7.25% of all reported bike crashes.
  • In 2011, there were 344 reported dooring crashes, for a rate of 0.94 doorings per day. Doorings made up 19.7% of all reported bike crashes.
  • In 2012, up until August 29, 2012, there were 132 reported dooring crashes, for a rate of 0.55 doorings per day. Data for non-dooring crashes is incomplete and excluded.
Even if 2011 turns out to be an anomaly, this quick look is still strong evidence for more measurement of the problem and more campaigns to educate drivers ... or better yet passengers. The Chicago data sent over by Vance also reveal that the dooring culprit is most often the passenger, not the driver.
Vance goes on to compare the severity of injuries between dooring and non-dooring bike accidents in Chicago. His post is worth a full read for a local take on Chicago cycle safety, including the long legislative history of anti-dooring laws there.
For context: The best evidence we found in NYC for dooring prevalence was an observational study in 2010 that monitored 11 locations and found 77 dooring incidents, including near hits, over two days.
Chicago has about 2.7 million people, compared to New York's 8 million, but Chicago has about twice the rate of bike commuters as New York does according to the American Community Survey (spreadsheet) via the League of American Bicyclists. Until there's more measurement, there's no real way to tell if these Windy City numbers are the national normal, or wild outlier.
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Transportation Nation

NYC Aims to Stop Bike "Dooring" by Targeting Taxis

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

(image courtesy of DOT)

UPDATED with Chicago dooring figures below.

New York is dreaming of a world where taxis and cyclists can be friends.

In addition to new logos and a brighter yellow color, the city's taxi of tomorrow will also come with anti-"dooring" decals.

And so will the taxis of today, according to Taxi and Limousine Commission Chairman David Yassky.

"We believe the stickers and video will really resonate with riders and inspire them to pause for that critical second before they open the door and exit the taxi,” said Yassky. “It’s that moment of pause that could make all the difference in the world to both a bicyclist and the taxi passenger alike.”

The message not to fling cab doors open without first checking for bicyclists will be hammered home in a video message that will play on all 13,000 Taxi TVs (assuming passengers don't turn them off first). "Take out a friend," reads the message on the video. "Take out a date. But don't take out a cyclist."

Getting doored is rightfully high on the list of fears for any urban cyclist. When a car door opens in a cyclist's immediate path it can not only injure him/her, it can fling the biker into the path of oncoming traffic. It can be common and even deadly, though few studies track dooring.

Illinois began what we believe to be the first statewide effort to track dooring last April. We've asked the Illinois DOT for the figures from that effort and will report back as soon as we get them.

UPDATE: Steve Vance of Grid Chicago got in touch with the data. He used his access to the Illinois DOT online Data Mart and found there were 344 reported doorings in Chicago last year, responsible for one in five bike crashes. It should be said that's a big spike over 2010.

A 2010 survey in NYC counted bike-related infractions at 11 locations found that dooring (including near-hits) is a pervasive phenomenon with 77 infractions over the two days of measurement, 19 of them on one street alone.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin enacted an anti-dooring law in 2009 that switched culpability from cyclists to motorists for dooring accidents, and added a $40 fine for striking a cyclist with a car door.

Taxis, with their frequent stops and passengers exiting from both sides, are at high risk for causing dooring incidents.

(image courtesy of NYC DOT)



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Transportation Nation

Illinois Governor Quinn Announces Increased Bicycle Safety Reporting

Monday, April 25, 2011

Governor Quinn at Harvard Avenue Bike Shop last summer Photo: Flickr/Harvard Avenue Photostream

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  This just in from the Governor of Illinois -- one of the first statewide efforts we're aware of to track a serious safety concern for cyclists -- when motorists suddenly open doors into bike traffic, frequently knocking cyclists to the ground.   Illinois officials says the database is an effort both to track the number of incidents and educate motorists about the practice, so they can train themselves to check for cyclists before they open doors into bike traffic, much as motorists now check for cars.  Illinois says a database will go online in about a month, and will have data -- so far as it's recoverable -- dating from May 2010.  Police will now be asked to note any incidents where they're called when a cyclist is hit by a motorist opening the door of a car.

UPDATE:  The knowledgeable Caroline Sampanaro of the NYC-based Transportation Alternatives says she hasn't heard of any such state-wide efforts to track "dooring."  If you know of local efforts that we're missing, let us know.

New Tracking of “Dooring” Crashes Will Identify Problem Areas

CHICAGO -- April 25, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn announced today that the state will begin tracking “dooring” crashes -- accidents involving bicyclists who are struck by opened doors from parked cars. The change will take effect immediately to help determine locations where road improvements and public outreach efforts may be necessary to protect bicyclists from these dangerous collisions.

“As more people are riding bicycles and embracing other green modes of transportation, we need to ensure that Illinois collects data that presents a complete picture of what is happening on our roads,” said Governor Quinn. “This new initiative will address a major safety issue for bicyclists and drivers, and will make our roads safer for everyone.”

The new policy is the result of collaboration between Governor Quinn, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Active Transportation Alliance. Prior to the change in policy, dooring collisions went unrecognized in IDOT’s annual reporting of traffic statistics because a moving motor vehicle was not involved.

The data collected and analyzed by IDOT can be used to plan for improved roadway designs and additional communication with motorists in areas with high concentrations of bicyclists.

“We appreciate Governor Quinn’s action on this issue,” said Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance, an advocacy organization that works to improve conditions for walking, biking and transit. “Data on dooring problem spots will help communities take steps to reduce these collisions. We are grateful IDOT will track these crashes, and look forward to working with them to increase safety and education surrounding dooring.”

To assist police in submitting the correct information, IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety is reaching out to law enforcement agencies across the state with instructions on how to begin recording dooring crashes. Police departments that have already have begun tracking dooring collisions, including Chicago, will have their data included in the state’s traffic statistics, retroactive to May 2010.

“We are committed to working with our partners in law enforcement to make roads safer for bicyclists,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig said. “Safety always will be a top priority at IDOT. The recognition of dooring accidents is another step in the right direction.”

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: NY Tour Bus Checkpoint Finds 100% of Buses in Violation, LA Wants To Slash Bus Service In Favor of Rail, and More On The Bike Lane Culture Wa

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Senator Charles Schumer in Chinatown (photo by Arun Venugopal/WNYC)

A vehicle checkpoint in NY found that 14 out of 14 tour buses stopped had safety problems, leading NY Senator Charles Schumer to call for auditing the  drivers' licenses of all tour bus operators in New York State. (WNYC)

As Los Angeles moves to expand rail service, officials also aim to reduce bus service by 12%. (Los Angeles Times)

Bicyclists in Illinois want the state transportation department to start tracking "dooring" collisions. (Chicago Tribune)

New York Magazine looks at the city's bike lane culture wars.

Analysts worry factory shutdowns in Japan could slow shipments of popular cars to U.S. — including Toyota's Prius and Honda's Fit — and the shortages could spread to other models. (WNYC)

Military action in Libya helped push the average U.S. price of a gallon of gasoline up another 7 cents over the past two weeks, making the the average price for a regular  gallon $3.57 (AP via Forbes).  The increase in gas prices is negatively affecting NYC taxi drivers (WNYC).

Hundreds protested planned transit cuts in Pittsburgh. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

President Obama criticized Florida Governor Rick Scott for spurning high-speed rail. (Miami Herald)

Want to know how important buses were for the civil rights movement? Check out this NY Times article about one man's legacy. "Mr. Crawford’s work was simple. He kept a segregated population moving."

One man writes about his experiences using London's bike share program. "Sponsoring 5,000 bikes is one thing; building mythical “bike superhighways” on streets in which every square inch of asphalt is already fiercely competed for, moment by moment, is another." (NY Times)

The NY Daily News says the #7 tunnel is the MTA's #1 headache.

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: A poll found that New Yorkers prefer bike lanes, 59% to 34%. Virginia's Loudoun County may withdraw its funding from the Dulles Metrorail project. Florida Senator Bill Nelson said the state's high-speed rail hopes were dashed. Travelers from Japan trickled into JFK airport. And the MTA christened two tunnel boring machines for its East Side Access project.

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