The “Look Chicago” community group will conduct its first outreach to prevent dooring crashes on Saturday, March 2, in the Wicker Park neighborhood. The Look Chicago street team will meet at 11 a.m. at Milwaukee and Damen to distribute informational flyers to pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers, proceeding to the site where cyclist Dustin Valenta was doored by a parked motorist, then seriously injured by a hit-and-run truck driver.
This will be the first such education campaign in several years. The last anti-dooring campaign consisted of two sticker designs affixed to parking meters – you can see remnants of these stickers today (see below).
Hundreds of dooring crashes happen in Chicago each year, and they are entirely preventable. In 2011, the last full year for which crash data is available, there were 170 dooring crashes — about 9 percent of all reported bike crashes in Chicago. Last year, through October 9, there were 277 reported dooring crashes (data for all crash types will be available in the fall). According to a map from WBEZ, a lot of doorings are concentrated in Wicker Park-Bucktown and on diagonal streets, as you might expect.
The Look Chicago group counts Katie Paffhouse, Aaron Bussey, and Brendan Kevenides as members. Paffhouse and Bussey started the group in October, after Neill Townsend’s death on Wells Street. As he was commuting to work, a driver opened the car door in Townsend’s path, and as he maneuvered around the door he was run over by a trailer-truck driver. Said Paffhouse:
Neill Townsend’s death hit the cycling community hard. There were many discussions around what went wrong and, at times, these conversations turned into blaming certain parties. Few focused on how to be constructive and make change. Through conversations it seemed many people were interested in doing something to reduce dooring and prevent future issues; thus, Look Chicago was created.
Word is that the city has an official anti-dooring campaign in the works as well. Stay tuned.