Frequently asked questions:

Should I report a dangerous motorist?


  • The motorist you report could cause a serious injury to another cyclist or pedestrian in the future. If that happens, your report of a separate incident can help courts bring appropriate actions against that motorist.
  • The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Your report is your voice; it explains to Police that there is a real need for traffic enforcement to protect pedestrians and bicyclists.

How do I report a dangerous motorist?

How to report a dangerous motorist

  1. Stop and calm down.
  2. Write down the following information and SAVE IT, you may need it in the future:
    • Vehicle description
    • License plate number
    • Description of the incident
    • Location of the incident
    • Date and time
    • Motorist’s physical description
  3. Dial 911 and explain the situation, they will direct you to the appropriate department based on whether the situation is an emergency. Police may or may not be dispatched to apprehend the violator.
  4. When your report is complete, the assisting officer will give you a reference number, write this down and save it with the other information from the report.
  5. Police will mail you a copy of the report, keep it for your records.

TIPS: The Police are directed not to file reports for “road rage” – When speaking with the Police, focus on the specific violation committed, not on your emotions, or on any aggressive verbal exchange you may have had with the violator. 

Always carry a pen and paper with you in so you can record information easily.

Should I call 311 or 911?

In the City of Chicago, call 911 when a motorist endangers you or when you see a motorist endanger another bicyclist or pedestrian. Call 311 to report reckless or careless taxi drivers, to report poor road conditions or request a bike rack.

In other communities, call your village or city hall.

Should I call the police if I get doored?

Yes! Dooring (when a cyclist runs into a door a driver has opened into traffic) is considered a crash. In the City of Chicago, it carries a $500 fine for motorists. Always call the police when you are involved in a crash, dooring or otherwise.

Do the laws apply to bicyclists, too?

Yes! Find out here 

Are there any new bills or ordinances I should know?

Yes! Active Transportation Alliance is working for more bicycle and pedestrian rights. Learn about what is coming up and when you should call your representatives at

How can I get more information about my rights?

Check out Wheels of Justice, our regular column that provides tips on some of the legal aspects of bicycling, written by James Freeman, a bicyclist and personal injury lawyer.

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