Illinois law punishes doored cyclists
Last October, Chicago police ticketed a pregnant 30-year-old bicyclist after she was hit by a car door and severely injured, spurring efforts to change this Illinois law: "The driver of a two-wheeled vehicle may not pass upon the right of any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless the unobstructed pavement to the right of the vehicle being passed is of a width of not less than eight feet."
Keith Griffith, on Chi.streets.blog, writes that the law, "presumably written to prevent motorcycles from roaring down the shoulder of roads, has been used to find cyclists at fault in traffic-lane doorings."
As the female cyclist, fully recovered from the crash, expects to give birth to a healthy baby girl this month, bicycling advocates are pushing to change the law to accommodate bicycles.
"This is one of the dumber laws that's applied to bicyclists," said local attorney Jim Freeman, who has represented clients cited for passing on the right.
The League of Illinois Bicyclists and the Active Transportation Alliance are looking at how the California state legislature, in 2010, revised its vehicle code to exclude bicycles from a similar passing restriction.
The pregnant cyclist who was doored and ticketed suggested an act of civil disobedience to spur a change in the Illinois traffic law. "We could get a huge group of cyclists and ride down Lincoln exactly how we're supposed to, and see how that goes over with drivers. Let's just sit in traffic and not pass them at lights, and see how they like that."
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