“Watchitladyjesuschrist!” The words flew from my mouth like bullets. Harsh and guttural, they came from a place deep at the back of my throat. They were a reflex of my most primitive instinct—to survive. I barely recognized my own voice as I shouted and swerved to avoid the little red car door that had just opened in front of me in the bike lane.
When I looked back over my shoulder, the driver was standing beside her car, coffee and keys in hand, staring at me as if I were some kind of she-devil—not the otherwise quiet commuter that I was, just trying to get to a job downtown.
What was I supposed to say? How could I have put it more politely? I almost “got doored.”
Not long after that incident, only a month ago, Clinton Miceli was biking home from his job at an advertising agency in the Loop. He was riding up the LaSalle Street bike lane when the door of an SUV opened in front of him. The impact threw Miceli into traffic, where he was run over by another vehicle and killed. He was 22 years old.
Miceli was the fifth bicyclist killed in Chicago this year. Of those who have lost their lives, most were young and just beginning their adult lives. Miceli was known as a safety-conscious cyclist who always wore a helmet.
It’s not just common sense or common courtesy, it’s basic physics: moving object + car door = tragedy. Drivers, please check your mirror and blind spot before opening your door in traffic. (Elizabeth Winkowski)