A local woman is now getting an $800,000 court settlement after being “doored” by a sport utility vehicle while riding her bike down Southport Avenue, her lawyers confirmed.
The accident happened around noon on April 21, 2010, near the corner of Southport and Newport avenues in nearby Lake View. Bridgid Mullen, who was 39-years-old at the time, was riding her bike down Southport when a woman in a parked car swung her door open into her.
Mullen suffered from a broken bone and permanent nerve damage to her left arm, according to court documents. Despite treatment and care from a team of doctors, she continues to experience pain in her elbow, limitations in arm movement, and decreased strength in her hand.
Bike lanes were already painted on Southport in 2010, but didn't prevent the dooring. Mullen was biking to work when the accident happened, and the driver admitted to not looking behind her to check for bikers before opening her door, court documents reveal.
“Bicyclists and motorists have to share the road. That means sharing a responsibility for the safety of one another,” said Mullen’s attorney Richard Pullano. “In this case, the driver felt it was too inconvenient to take that one extra step to avoid a potential accident. As a result, this woman’s life has been changed forever.”
And it’s something that happens more often than most bikers realize. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Traffic Safety, 557 doorings were reported in Chicago from the beginning of 2009 through Sept. 7, 2012, WBEZ reports.
A majority of those doorings happen on the North Side, with the most common areas being on diagonal streets like Lincoln Avenue and Clark Street, WBEZ found.
In Lake View alone, there were almost 65 during the period studied, with clear hot spots like the corners of Belmont and Ashland avenues and Belmont and Sheffield avenues.
“Dangerous motorists are still a problem for Chicago bicyclists,” said Pullano. “Sadly, there are drivers out there who aren’t aware of bicyclists, or simply don’t care about sharing the road with them.”