My first dooring experience

Okay, so, I got doored. It happened at about 6:45pm, near the Granville stop. Having previously dodged several near-dooring experiences, I always wondered somewhat skeptically how they actually happened. I discovered today. They happen very, very quickly. One second I was biking along, just east of the L line, the next I was lying on the pavement. I got up quickly, surveyed the damage (a painful, bloody right bicep, I expect bruises soon). I yelled at the guy who had opened the door, who looked kinda scared. I’m pretty sure I told him it was “fucking criminal”, which, expletive not withstanding I believe is true in Chicago. My bike’s front wheel was bent and useless. Some dude biked past and asked if he could help. I waved him on. I took my bike east of the granville stop and locked it up against a sign. I grabbed my bag, took out a shirt, put it on, went back, and took a picture of the car, including license plate. The young lady in the passenger seat was still in the car and not looking comfortable with the attention. I crossed the street, took a picture of the side of the car. I walked back to my bike. I took pictures of the damaged bike and my injuries. I went into the train station, tapping past the turnstile with my chicago card plus. I thought better of not talking to the driver, went back to the car, arrived as he was returning to the car. I was angry and stern, but not hostile. He was extremely chagrined and apologetic. He offered to pay for anything. He said he was a new driver and that he got paid that evening. He said that he parked there all the time. I pointed out that it was an area with very heavy bike traffic since the official bike trail from the lakefront headed north includes that section. I gave him my number (which he still hasn’t used, an hour later). We shook hands. I returned to the train station. A short indian gentleman, who I believe works there (because he was in a neon vest) told me had had seen it all, that the guy hadn’t noticed me and opened the door. I waved him away. I finished my trip by train, got to Pliny’s place, took 3 ibuprofen, accepted Joe’s offer to photograph my main visible injury (a deep scratch on my right bicep), cleaned and bandaged the bigger of my two wounds, tried to file a police report by phone (311), was told that as a vehicular police report it could not be filed by phone and that I’d have to file it in person, ideally some time in the next three days. Decided to, as Mike recommended, write down the time line of events, and that is my story. Now to finish a stiff drink or three so I can sleep better this evening. This post should help me recall the events.

I wish I had collected contact info from the cyclist who offered to help and the short indian dude at the Granville station. I mean, I hate to be cynical and think that the guy who doored me won’t follow through on his word, but I have the sinking feeling that he won’t. Let this be a lesson to me. Next time I’m the victim of a criminal act, and a potential witness asks if I need help, or says they saw what happened, thank them politely and ask for their contact info. Also, don’t trust someone who could potentially be liable for harming me, and collect their info as well. Even if I already have their license plate info.

Also, getting doored sucks. Drivers, please look before you open your doors on the street.

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