Photos: Ghost bike memorial honors hit-and-run victim Dan Peterson

Dan Peterson.jpg
Dan Peterson
An all-white bicycle with a bouquet of yellow flowers is now locked to a street pole on Lincoln at 6th Avenue -- an intersection where a cyclist collided with a car whose driver allegedly stole the bike and fled from the scene.

The memorial, put up by local bike advocates who wish to remain anonymous, is there to honor Dan Peterson, thirty, who died early on Sunday, July 22, after a late-night hit-and-run. At this time, the Denver Police Department investigation is still ongoing, though officials have located the suspected hit-and-run vehicle -- and they're revealing more information about the case.

Based on witness accounts, DPD spokesman Sonny Jackson says that at the time of the accident, Peterson was allegedly biking southbound on Lincoln Street, which is a one-way street that goes northbound.

ghost-bike-denver-6.jpg
Sam Levin
Ghost bike memorial on Lincoln.
The crash occurred on Lincoln and Speer at 2:20 a.m. on the 22nd, and witnesses say they saw the vehicle -- described as a dark-colored or green Subaru hatchback -- drag the bicycle away. Afterward, the driver allegedly stepped out of the car and took the bicycle before fleeing the scene.

The vehicle may have had damage to the front end as well as a fractured windshield. The bicycle has not been recovered, but DPD reports that the vehicle was recovered the following day in Aurora.

Jackson says the DPD is looking into persons of interest for this case, but he couldn't offer more specifics at this time. While the cyclist was in the wrong because he was biking against traffic, the driver is also in the wrong for leaving the scene, Jackson says.

Anyone with information can call the main Crime Stoppers number, 720-913-STOP (7867).

The accident raises concerns for the local bike community, says one advocate who helped put together the memorial bike with several others; he wishes to remain anonymous in part because he is not sure it is legal to put up this kind of memorial on a public street.

"The people who hit him probably drive through this intersection a couple times a week," the bike advocate says. "Hopefully their conscience will just devour them."

Ghost bikes are small memorials that exist across the world and are more common in U.S. cities that experience more bike fatalities. (In New York City, for example, nearly one hundred have been put up).

A spokeswoman from Denver's Public Works agency, which oversees all streets and sidewalks, tells us that the city "respects the right of individuals to erect memorials as part of a grieving process when a tragedy occurs," adding that when a memorial is erected in the public "right of way," the department will leave it in place for thirty days.

As we reported earlier this month, the number of bike accidents in Denver has increased dramatically in recent years. Based on recent records, 2012 is on track to be much worse. This trend is happening in conjunction with a boom in the number of cyclists on the street as the city continues to expand its bike network.

Still, there have been few bike fatalities in Denver -- DPD records show that there's an average of fewer than two per year. Since 2004, there have been fourteen fatal accidents, including this most recent one -- the first of 2012. The most fatalities during a single year during that span was three, in 2007; two fatalities took place in 2010, and one last year.

But given the rise in total accidents and the growing presence of cyclists in the city, some advocates say there is reason to be concerned about how vehicles and cyclists are interacting in the street.

Page down for more photos and to read more about Peterson.


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22 comments
Karma
Karma

Donkey exactly that. An ass

cynthia.negron
cynthia.negron

AH! How can I respond to this? I am a cyclist who's seen headlights TOO CLOSE, sailed off my seat, and wondered for that torturous moment before helmet hits pavement, wether it will work, or if this is it.  

 

But, I hate the entire discussion around accidents. The one I was in was partly my fault as it was twilight and I was light-less, and partly the driver's fault for turning without fully stopping and looking for other traffic. She was a kind, simply distracted person, and so we compromised. Her mechanic boyfriend fixed my bike up for free and I fixed up my own cuts and scrapes. Luckily, that was all that was happened. But I've been scared several times since that reminder of my frailty compared to a car. 

 

Not paying attention while driving a machine can be deadly. That girl who hit me was a sweet and good person. That same seemingly-innocent mistake of rushing past a stop sign could have killed me if I was going faster, and it could have turned a sweet person into a manslaughter convict. Not fair for either of us... 

 

But cyclists aren't just victims and cars aren't just death machines looking to kill. 

 

I have been SO MAD AT CYCLISTS many times in just one day! "How can you be so dumb?" I wonder. Example: I live off of Logan, and see one guy riding the wrong way up that cramped road at least 2 nights a week. WTF? And you, sailing past the stoplights in neighborhoods were the cars are parked so close to the intersection you can't see who's coming... WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!? 

 

I try to be as safe as possible on the road. I am not perfect, and I probably break about as many rules as the car driver does, occasionally treating stop signs as "slow down and yield signs" in low-traffic areas, forgetting my helmet in a rush, or shortcutting for a block on the sidewalk, but I TRY, and I THINK ABOUT CONSEQUENCES! I always wait at red lights, chose routes that are bike-optimal, and IF I need to ride on the sidewalk to get into bike parking or whatever, I go SLOW and respect the pedestrian right-of-way. 

 

You see, I love cycling.  I love that I generally feel safe on the road in Denver, as long as I am riding intelligently. I love that I live a life that allows me to be mostly car free (nod to taxis for DUI avoidance and major grocery hauls) and get a workout everyday just by commuting. I've saved so much money and lost 25lbs in the process, and I HATE how many people are ignorant of bike's right to the road (they were first you know... bikes where the primary reason for paved roads for decades). 

 

But I am really not loving the fact that everyone on a bike or behind the wheel acts like they are the only person on earth who knows how to move around the city. 

 

 

 

 

 

PalmalaHanderson
PalmalaHanderson

My brothers a cyclist. He moved from Huntington Beach to Denver to enjoy cycling and all the other action sports he loves.

 

On his first bike ride through Denver, some assholes threw a bag of powdered bleach on his sweaty body as he rode.

 

Good Times.. . .

Britt Villa Zapata
Britt Villa Zapata

Drove by this yesterday. What a beautiful, touching way to memorialize him.

Jaime Chadek
Jaime Chadek

Thank you for writing this. Thank you so, so much.

Jordana Sturaro
Jordana Sturaro

I saw one of those in Boulder on the corner of 28th and Violet as well...

justsayin
justsayin

justsayin

Donkey, that is no longer the point. Dan paid the ultimate price for driving in a  wreckless manner. I guarantee there would have been more leniency had the driver and passenger turned accomplice stayed at the scene of the crime.It is the law.

Cyclist coming out of nowhere in Denver is nothing new! It is in fact a problem. We all understand that.

http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/2012/07/despite_increased_enforcement.php

 

A mother killed a jogger 2 months ago in Highlands Ranch and it was the drivers fault . She got off with a citation.

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/31063431/detail.html

 

The driver should have stayed. When they are found the charges will be more severe. But, They will most likely not spend the majority of their life behind bars. It was an accident. It turned into a crime once the drivers fled the scene of the "accident". Maybe alcohol/drugs played a part. God Rest Mr. Petersons soul. He has paid enough.

justsayin
justsayin

R.I.P. Dan Peterson. Let's get these senseless drivers/murderers. Cowards CAN be caught!

justsayin
justsayin

DonkeyHotay is obviously envious of the fact that:

No one will EVER grieve for him - Check

His death would be a relief not a loss - Check

He may be the guilty driver? Let's check

Elwood
Elwood

Family and friends grieving the loss of this young man - check

Internet assh*le trying to be funny/snide/witty/ and failing miserably - check

Hoping against hope that Westword bans said assh*le or that Cervantes rises to choke out same said assh*le - Priceless

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Biking illegally, wrong way on busy one-way street at 2:30 AM -- check

 

Get hit and killed by hit and run driver -- check

 

Bike gets stolen by hit and run driver -- Priceless

 

 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @justsayin 

 

Remaining at the scene of a fatal accident doesn't bring the dead back to life.

 

Remaining at the scene of a fatal accident -- or any accident -- could be self-incriminating if criminal charges are sought.

 

That vindictive members of society want their pound of flesh doesn't change any outcome of the accident itself.

 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @justsayin 

 

Would this lawbreaking cyclist be alive had the driver remained at the scene ?

 

.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @Elwood 

 

HipTip: Best places to grieve -- in Church, a Funeral Home, or the privacy of one's own home.

 

Worst places to grieve -- on a public internet forum of a alternative entertainment rag.

 

hth.

 

 

Cecil27
Cecil27

 @DonkeyHotay Exactly, this is just where soulless assholes go to masturbate themselves raw over their own supposed cleverness! 

mocky
mocky

 @DonkeyHotay ...and an internet forum is a good place to make fun of someone's death? 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @mocky 

 

Good thing that nobodies like you don't get to decide what is or isn't the proper forum for gallows humor, eh?

.

 

mocky
mocky

 @DonkeyHotay Well Mr. Sociopath, allow me to school you. This internet forum is NOT an appropriate place for you to get your rocks off by making the comments you are making. One day death is going to slap you in the face so hard you won't be able to flap that venomous forked tongue of yours. Remember that when it's your time to grieve. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @mocky 

 

If you can't laugh at death ... death laughs at you.

 

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