Following the 2012 death of a young attorney who was run down by a truck when he swerved to avoid an opened car door, the city of Chicago has made efforts to try to prevent such incidents. The term "dooring" is well known to regular city cyclists. It occurs when an occupant opens a vehicle door into a bicyclist. A significant number of these incidents are caused by passengers exiting taxi cabs. The problem has been significant enough for the city to mandate that taxi companies place window stickers inside their vehicles reminding disembarking passengers to look before exiting. Here are some steps you can take when exiting a taxi cab to reduce the chance you will injure an unsuspecting biker.
Make sure the driver pulls close to the curb: Taxi drivers in Chicago are required to pull to the curb when picking up and dropping off passengers. Though this requirement is found in the City of Chicago Public Chauffeurs Rules & Regulations, many drivers ignore it. As a passenger you should politely insist that before dropping you off the driver pull to the curb. By exiting to the curb, you eliminate the possibility of encountering a cyclist when opening the vehicle door.
Do not exit into a bike lane: Cab drivers are prohibited from making passengers disembark into a bicycle lane. Section 9-40-060 expressly forbids any portion of a motor vehicle from encroaching into a bicycle lane. As a rule, you should insist that the driver pull to an area away from a bike lane when dropping you off.
Open the door slowly: Chicago's streets are, to state the obvious, busy as hell. They are used not just by cars, but also by bicycles, buses, motorcycles, scooters, skateboards and pretty much any other mode of transportation you can think of. Don't just fling your door open as if other road users do not exist. By opening the door slowly you give a cyclist, or other nearby road user, time to see you and shout out, stop or move over safely.
Look: Hopefully this one is obvious. If your taxi has a passenger oriented side view mirror, use it. Turn your head. Open the door a crack and peek behind you. Do whatever it takes to see what is around you before exiting the vehicle.
Consider Divvy: Who needs doors anyway? Two years ago, Chicagoans were given another option when it comes to getting around town. Consider opting not to take a cab and instead use Divvy, Chicago's bike share program. You'll have more fun going from point to point, and you won't have to breath in the smell of funky air freshener.