A guest post by Brian Jones, subject of TreeHugger Post A Story about Losing, Leaving and Buying It All Back and author of ::Buy By Brian
Earlier this month, at the beginning of Chicago's Bike to Work Week, Clinton Miceli died after being doored and knocked in front of a passing vehicle. Less than two weeks prior to this tragic incident, Treehugger ran a poll about the punishment for those who give out "The Door Prize." Clinton, a 22-year old graphic designer, was said to have always worn a helmet and lights, as well as advocating bike safety to his fellow co-workers and friends who rode.
When traffic conditions—or the complacency of riding in a bike lane—leave a rider vulnerable to the "door zone," there is only so much responsibility the rider can take to avoid these encounters. Lighting conditions, tinted windows and larger vehicles don't always allow a rider to see if anyone is in the driver's seat. In these cases, even the most vigilant rider can be caught off guard. Once that door pops, there is very little time to react and this is why the responsibility rests on those exiting the vehicle.
According to Illinois Law:
Sec. 11‑1407. Opening and closing vehicle doors. 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.
Thanks to some of the members of ChiFG.com—a community of area riders and bike enthusiasts (disclaimer alert: I'm a member)—Clinton's death will not be in vain. The group has come together to create an awareness campaign to educate drivers as well as other cyclists about the dangers of the door zone. Another member of the site, Trinedy Nguyen, designed the above to be made into stickers, flyers and hopefully a billboard reminding drivers to check their mirrors before exiting their vehicle. I'm sure even Treehuggers who drive don't always remember to do this, so please take that extra second to do so. It could prevent another unnecessary death.
For more on the campaign and a note from Clinton's sister, see hipsternascar.com