The Chainlink

Cyclist doored, struck has fractured skull and 23 broken ribs but is OK; hit-and-run driver still at large

It was a perfect storm of factors that are all too common when Chicago bicyclists are injured or killed by cars. Dustin Valenta, 27, a delivery biker, yoga teacher and actor was commuting in Wicker Park when a driver opened her door on him, throwing him into traffic. As he lay in the road, another motorist stuck him and then fled the scene.

Valenta suffered a fractured skull, broken pelvis, 23 cracked ribs and a punctured lung but he miraculously survived and is currently alert and in good spirits. The question remains: why would a driver who accidentally struck someone already lying in the road not stop to give aid? Valenta's family is currently working to bring the hit-and-run motorist to justice: http://chi.streetsblog.org/2013/02/14/cyclist-doored-then-struck-hit-and-run-driver-still-at-large/

Friends have set up donation sites to help cover medical expenses for Valenta, who is uninsured, at Go Fund Me and Give Forward. Cut Cats Courier and Johnny Sprockets bike shop are organizing a benefit event for late February or early March, probably at Bangers and Lace tavern.

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This still gives me chills every time I think about.  So glad he's alive and in good spirits!

Yes, it seems like all that yoga really paid off!

I see he is uninsured, but does worker's comp cover injuries on the job for messengers?

It sometimes does, but he wasn't working at the time.

Like John said, Workers' Comp covers messengers who are injured for accidents arising out of and in the course of their employment. Unfortunately, this appears not to be the case for Dustin although I know none of those facts.  He is represented by Mike who is certainly doing all that can be done. Its good to hear that he is recovering.

Is it possible to get a description of the hit and run driver and vehicle?

This hit and run driver if not caught, is probably going to live in paranoia for a long time. That in it of itself is somewhat of a punishment. Also, considering how lenient our laws are against drivers that accidentally kill or maim cyclists, unfortunately, he probably would've gotten off easy. The driver most likely freaked out, and made the wrong and irresponsible decision to flee the scene.

I also wish the rider a speedy recovery (looks promising), and hope that accidents like these help all of us cyclists to use our best judgment when riding in an area where narrow streets (ride slowly),  parked cars (assume all doors open simultaneously, especially if one can't see a person in the car)  and traffic coexist such that we're squeezed in a tight and hard to maneuver area. No method is perfect to avoid an accident, and often nerves get in the way of common sense, but we can always strive to improve our safety and others. I've also read before that if a dooring cannot be avoided, if possible, aim at the car and avoid veering into traffic. Makes a lot of sense to me.

27 years young, he should bounce right back, looks tough as nails.

I hope he does!

I got hit and run on when I was 27 and was not seriously hurt.

The driver got caught a few hours later thanks to a bystander phoning in their plate numbers

She spent a night in jail for assulat with a deadly weapon.

I sill cant belive her license was not revoked.

Lets hope this driver steers clear from bikers from now on

When I talked to Mike Keating he hadn't seen the bank's security footage yet. Hopefully the footage will help identify the driver.

Juan 2-8 mi. said:

Is it possible to get a description of the hit and run driver and vehicle?

If it hasn't been discussed yet, there is a bake sale at Bike Lane next Saturday, Feb 23 - http://www.thechainlink.org/events/bike-shop-bake-sale-for-dustin-v...

I slow down significantly and keep my right hand on the brake lever when I'm in the door zone and look into each car window, both front and rear on a 4 door vehicle. You're a little safer if you operate on the assumption that it's a question of when, not if, that car door will open at the worst possible moment. I've always felt that if a dooring is unavoidable, I'm gonna make my target the softest thing I can run into, which would be the arm of the person who opened that door and attempt to fall toward the vehicle and away from the traffic lane. I've ridden the Dearborn bike lane a few days now, northbound beyond the lane itself. It's a fairly treacherous stretch there on my evening commute home and I've come to the conclusion that the risk is no longer worth taking. I'd rather cut over to the LFP at an earlier opportunity where it's generally safer.

MagMileMarauder said:

This hit and run driver if not caught, is probably going to live in paranoia for a long time. That in it of itself is somewhat of a punishment. Also, considering how lenient our laws are against drivers that accidentally kill or maim cyclists, unfortunately, he probably would've gotten off easy. The driver most likely freaked out, and made the wrong and irresponsible decision to flee the scene.

I also wish the rider a speedy recovery (looks promising), and hope that accidents like these help all of us cyclists to use our best judgment when riding in an area where narrow streets (ride slowly),  parked cars (assume all doors open simultaneously, especially if one can't see a person in the car)  and traffic coexist such that we're squeezed in a tight and hard to maneuver area. No method is perfect to avoid an accident, and often nerves get in the way of common sense, but we can always strive to improve our safety and others. I've also read before that if a dooring cannot be avoided, if possible, aim at the car and avoid veering into traffic. Makes a lot of sense to me.

Like Julie mentioned, Tiny Fix is throwing a bake sale in a week.

On Saturday, February 23rd, Tiny Fix holding a bake sale at The Bike Lane (2130 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago) to benefit Dustin Valenta.

We'll have vegan goodies for the ethics-minded, non-vegan goods for the butter eaters, and a gluten-free option. We'll have stacks and stacks of chocolate and frosting and cookies and sugar, and even a few savory options for those people born with a severely malformed sweet tooth. Bring lots of cash, because we'll have deals where you can stock up on delicious baked goods for the whole week. Every cent donated will be given to Dustin Valenta to try to defray some of his medical costs.

The Bike Lane will also be giving a 15% discount from anyone who donates. Need to stock up on tubes? Meaning to pick up some armwarmers or grease? Why not save money on what you were going to buy anyway, plus get a delicious cookie, plus know that you're helping out a member of Chicago's cycling community? It's a win-win-win situation.

If you can't make it in person , you can donate to Dustin's Hit & Run Medical Fund from the privacy of your own home.

http://www.tinyfixbikegang.com/2013/02/bike-shop-bake-sale-benefit-...

http://www.facebook.com/events/459079140826189/


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Also, there is a bar night & raffle fundraiser at Bangers & Lace 2/25

http://www.tinyfixbikegang.com/2013/02/bangers-lace-benefit-for-dus...

http://www.facebook.com/events/427532457327597/

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