Denver cycling accidents on track for all-time record in 2012

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Editor's note: This is the fourth in a series of reports about biking and bike safety in Denver and beyond.

Update: After we reported yesterday that the number of bike-related accidents jumped from 2010 to 2011, the Denver Police Department sent us new statistics for 2012 -- and it's looking like this year is on track to be a lot worse.

This year, through July 8th, there have already been 228 accidents, which nearly matches the total number of collisions throughout the entire year in 2011, and already has surpassed 2010 as a whole.

The statistics aren't broken down by type, so they could refer to bike-pedestrian, bike-bike or bike-auto accidents. In 2011, DPD had 239 on record, and in 2010, the total came to 202. Assuming that more cycling accidents will continue to take place over the summer and into the fall -- especially since there are more cyclists on the road in Denver -- we can expect the city to not only break its record on bike accidents by year's end, but shatter it.

See our earlier coverage below.

Original post, 10:25 a.m. July 9: As cycling in Denver increases dramatically, there's one growing pain that is causing concern for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike: the rise in collisions.

At Westword, we've chronicled the rapid growth in Denver commuters biking to work -- which the city has pushed along with increased spending on bike infrastructure throughout Denver. At the same time, police are also giving out more tickets to cyclists, and there has been a record number of bike thefts on the street.

But there's another major problem: Cyclists, pedestrians and drivers are struggling to figure out how to coexist with each other in the streets -- and on the sidewalk. Last month, for example, ex-Denver City Councilman Doug Linkhart collided with a pickup truck when he was cycling on Bike to Work Day.

"It's time for a comprehensive public education campaign...[on] how to coexist safely on our roadways," says Piep van Heuven, executive director of advocacy group BikeDenver. "The reality is most of us in Denver have been on a bike. We walk places. And most of us have a car."

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Doug Linkhart, the former council rep who was in a biking accident last month.

DPD officials say they are still putting together statistics for 2012, so we don't have anything on bike-related accidents this year. But between 2010 to 2011, there was definitely a jump.

In 2010, there were 202 bike-related accidents. Last year, that number rose to 239. These stats aren't broken down by type, so they could be bike-pedestrian, bike-bike or bike-auto.

We'll let you know when we get the numbers for 2012. But in the meantime, there's growing worry among cyclists and city officials alike about clashes involving cyclists. At a recent Denver City Council meeting, when a member mentioned Linkhart's accident, several others raised concerns about accidents they'd heard about.

On one side of the debate, some are concerned that cyclists carelessly and regularly break laws -- running through stop signs, ignoring red lights -- and put others and themselves in danger in the process. On the other side, some cyclists say drivers are uneducated about cycling and do a bad job of sharing the road with bikers -- as they are legally required to do.

"Sadly, I think it is common to talk to bicyclists that have a story about having a crash with an automobile," says van Heuven. "It's also common to hear people talking about...an incident with a person on a bike that is not following the law."

Dan Grunig, executive director of statewide advocacy group Bicycle Colorado, points out that in some cycling rankings, the state has actually done very well in this area. The League of American Bicyclists has ranked Colorado number four in its 2012 list.

The ranking, based on a comprehensive survey, says, "Practically all of Colorado's state traffic laws related to bicycling are national models."

In general, Grunig says, the bike laws in the state treat cycling seriously: "Colorado recognizes that bicycles are equal.... They have the same rights and responsibilities."

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at Sam.Levin@Westword.com.

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Sergei Krivenkov
Sergei Krivenkov

Agreed.. I think there's too much misplaced anger towards the cycling community in general. I've been cycling for 10+ years and have never had any trouble with cars whatsoever. I ride in bike lanes, slower streets (right lane), and bike paths. On the other hand, while driving, I've had these "nouveau-fixed gear-cool bike-assholes" cut me off about every single damned day. So, I can see why non-cyclists have so much anger towards anyone on a bike. Its a shame a few ruin it for those who have common courtesy while riding. I don't think the Denver Cruisers are helping either, that has grown waaaay too large to contain. I saw this guy run a red light on a bike, going the wrong way and get pissed off when a car (after stopping legally) pulled out to turn and barely clipped his rear tire. The kid was so mad... The driver rolled down his window and yelled something along the lines of "learn how to ride a f**king bike". These are the types of cyclists ruining it for everyone else.

Karma
Karma

Ah, the age of Anonymous... They got a little scoop on you redneck.  Have fun with the hell they are going to put you through.  You might want to cancel your credit cards if it's not too late.  Also, thanks for the loan big guy!  (p.s. your "lugs" might be loose, might wanna go check that.)

The Universe
The Universe

Vehicular homicide is no joke, and you will do time behind bars for it. Where in-turn you will be raped in the ass repeatedly by other types of bikers and criminals. 

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Interesting post, Huthbot -- one well worth making an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks for weighing in.

Huthbot
Huthbot

Sounds like a fantastically ideal police state. While we're at it everybody should probably  register their shoes, skateboards, razor scooters, roller blades and everything else that's manually powered that might end up in the street or on the sidewalk (also government funded), and if your kids want to play a game of hockey or football or just have a catch in the cul-de-sac well they had better get a permit. It used to be us against them, now, with the help of some poorly timed journalism, they are pitting us against us. We all have the same goal: to get where we are going as quickly, efficiently, and safely as possible. There are bad eggs on both sides of this argument but more commonly there are shinning positive examples on both sides. I'd say most people on the road, be it on a bike or in a car, are doing their best to accommodate and be considerate of everyone else around them. I dont think the answer is going to come by way of more forced private expenditures. I know I have a hard enough time dealing with the DMV, Denver parking authority, private parking and tow lots and all the late fees doled out by each, do we really want to feel monetarily obligated to the government every time we walk out our front doors?  Sometimes I want to ride my bike sometimes I need to drive either way I'd rather not feel targeted. 

TerantulaTertiary
TerantulaTertiary

Riding a single-speed to a job at the adult bookstore swabbing the jackoff booths and then coming home to a twink with herpes doesn't seem like an appealing alternative, guest.

Cap Hill Cowboy
Cap Hill Cowboy

Or hell, when everyone else is around. When a car is coming right at them even, because, hey, you're driving the automobile, so you should be the one to slam on your brakes with your children in the car. It's NOT a BIKE Vs. CARS thing. It's just a common decency thing. When you're out in public, there are rules. You can't piss in the street. You can't steal bicycles. You can't paint graffiti. You can't run stop signs. If everyone could do whatever they wanted just because no one was around what sort of world would we live in?

internet
internet

I used to ride a bike, but then I got an arrow to the knee.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Bicyclist arrested in road rage incident PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland Police arrested a bicyclist Thursday after a possible road rage incident in which two men said he came at them with a bike chain.  Police said Glen Glans, 34, spit into a van at around 9:30 a.m. near NE 20th Ave. & Irving, when Glans said the van came too close to him while he was riding his bicycle. Two men got out of the van, and they and Glans got into a fight.  One of the men said he was injured when Glans hit him with a bicycle lock, and he drove himself to the hospital with minor injuries. Glans was arrested on suspicion of attempted assault and harrassment and booked into the Multnomah Co. Jail,

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Bicyclist charged in road rage shooting ZIONSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) - An unusual case of bicyclist road rage ends with the arrest of a Zionsville man. Jeremy Steiman, 25, has been charged with criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and pointing a firearm, both Class D felonies that carry prison terms of up to four years. Police said as he rode his bicycle, Steiman fired his .45-caliber handgun at a motorist.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

So automobiles and trucks should be able to "run stop signs" and ignore other traffic control devices if "there is no one else around", eh numbnuts?

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Much like owning the largest Military Force seems to grant the most belligerant sense of superiority to attack, invade and occupy far smaller, weaker and poorer sovereign nations ... at a rate unsurpassed by any other nation on earth.

Whatever
Whatever

non sequitur.  Get back on your meds.

Barney
Barney

Ah, so you are the new sheriff in town.  And you actively and purposely break the law by driving 1 mph over the speed limit.  Somebody will take your badge for that, sheriff. If every vehicle driver thought they were as entitled as you, there would be over 10 million auto caused fatalities per year in the U.S. Oh wait, every driver must be as entitled as you, because there ARE over 10 million auto caused fatalities per year in the U.S. Call me when cyclists cause over 10 million deaths per year.  You can even count the ones running stop signs.

SoCo Pat
SoCo Pat

"Do you think its ok to cross the street when there are absolutely no cars coming but you have a walk signal?" Um...let me get this straight.  So there are no cars coming and I have a walk signal...of I think it is ok to cross the steet.  LMAO 

SoCo Pat
SoCo Pat

So you admit you actively and purposely break the law on your bicycle?  What's wrong, you too lazy to come to a complete stop on your bicycle?  Running red lights and stop signs is serious.  If every vehicle driver thought they were as entitled as you the road traffic system wouldn't work.

The Universe
The Universe

I think you are the lazy one driving a car. Earth Fucker.

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