CHICAGO — The number of bicyclists injured when the door of a parked vehicle was opened directly in their paths rose about 50 percent, according to data released by Illinois transportation officials.
In 2015, 302 bicyclists were "doored," according to data released by the Illinois Department of Transportation. That is nearly a 50 percent increase from 2014, when 202 bicyclists were injured by car doors.
The sharp increase in 2015 comes after the number of bicyclists injured by doorings dropped from 2011 through 2014, according to city officials.
Jim Merrell, advocacy director of the Active Transportation Alliance, said it was unclear whether there was actually such a steep increase in dooring crashes in 2015, or whether stepped-up enforcement or reporting contributed to the jump.
However, it is clear that the number of crashes are "unacceptably high," Merrell said, adding that it was incredibly frustrating to get 2015 data four months into 2017.
The alliance is putting together an analysis of the data to help make recommendations to Chicago officials.
There were 1,644 reports of collision-related injuries in 2015 and 1,720 crashes involving bicycles, according to state transportation data. The number of crashes increased 3 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to the data.
Six bicyclists were killed in crashes during 2016, according to city data.
In 2013, city officials raised the fine for opening a door in traffic and causing an injury from $500 to $1,000 as part of a larger effort by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to encourage more Chicagoans to bike around the city.
After taking office in 2011, Emanuel oversaw the construction of more than 100 miles of new bicycle lanes, which include both protected bicycle lanes — set between parked cars and the sidewalks to keep bicycles away from traffic — and buffered bicycle lanes — which are painted lanes to separate cyclists from cars.
Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld has pledged that city officials will step up their efforts to achieve the city's goal of eliminating death and serious injuries from traffic crashes by 2026 as part of the mayor's Vision Zero campaign.
According to state officials, eight bicyclists were killed in Chicago in 2015. However, city data released in March found seven bicyclists were killed in crashes.
Representatives of the Chicago Department of Transportation did not immediately respond to questions about the discrepancy between state and local crash data or the cause of the increase in dooring crashes.
The dooring results were first reported by Streetsblog Chicago.
Read the 2015 Chicago dooring report here:
Read the 2015 Chicago Crash report: