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New Illinois law to help prevent door-bicycle collisions

New Illinois law to prevent door-bicycle collisions. (WCCU)
New Illinois law to prevent door-bicycle collisions. (WCCU)
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The new year brings new laws for Illinois, one of them to focus on the safety of bicyclists.

It's called the "Dutch reach." The strategy is meant to stop door-bicycle collisions.

It means when you parallel park your car, you use the hand furthest from the door to open it, causing you to look back and check for bikers before getting out.

Every day, bikers said they have close calls.

“I waited my turn and I got almost halfway across the intersection and a driver decided to take off and almost T-boned me,” said Cynthia Hoyle, active bike member in Champaign-Urbana and board member for Ride Illinois.

But now, with this new Illinois law, drivers will be encouraged to pay more attention.

“It would help a lot to have drivers be more aware and to understand that bicyclists have the same right to use the road as cars do,” Hoyle said.

Starting in 2019, on every driver's license test, there will be new bicycle safety questions, including the “Dutch reach” strategy.

“Door crashes are a hazard,” Hoyle said. “On residential streets, like Mumford in fact, I had people throw their car doors open as I was going by."

Which can pose even more danger if the bicyclist crashes and lands in the middle of the road.

“It really is the responsibility of the driver to not hit other roadway users,” she said.

She also hopes these questions and methods will trickle down to teenage driving courses.

For the time being, she has two requests for drivers.

“I wish they would slow down and be more patient,” she said.

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