Bike safety: Driver and badly injured cyclist both cited in Boulder crash

Cycling feature image 1.jpeg
More cars and cyclists are crashing into each other in Denver, prompting heated debates about who is responsible in the collisions. But in a recent Boulder crash, there's plenty of blame to go around. The accident report about the incident, in which a bike rider was knocked to the ground and seriously injured, is that both the cyclist and the driver were at fault: The driver drove carelessly and the cyclist failed to obey traffic signals.

Since we published our feature, "On a Roll," about the growth of cycling in Denver and the potentially devastating consequences, there have been a string of high-profile accidents that involved cyclists, including the tragic death last week of Gelseigh Karl-Cannon and the alleged road rage incident in Deer Creek Canyon, during which a driver's attempt to pass a group of cyclists went very wrong.

15th Street, Denver, cyclist and cars.jpeg
Sam Levin
A street in Denver where cars and cyclists ride alongside each other.
In addition, a car hit a cyclist riding in a crosswalk in Boulder on November 5. The accident report from the Boulder Police Department reveals a confusing collision where both the cyclist and the driver appeared to make mistakes, earning them summons.

Just after 9:30 a.m., the cyclist, Alfred Christansen III, 23, was approaching the intersection of Spruce Street and 28th Street from the sidewalk, the report says. At the same time, 73-year-old Richard Chrappa, driving a 2005 Chrysler Sebring, also approached the crosswalk, just north of Spruce Street.

The cyclist turned into the crosswalk, but did not activate the flashing LED crosswalk signal. He then passed in front of a stopped Chevy van, according to witnesses, but the Chrysler driven by Chrappa passed that van and entered the crosswalk at full speed. The cyclist was struck in the crosswalk, rolled onto the hood of the car and hit the windshield. The car then allegedly carried the cyclist 82 feet before the driver was able to stop, at which point the cyclist rolled off the hood and fell onto the pavement on a center concrete median. Medics arrived and rushed Christiansen, who suffered serious injuries in the collision, to the hospital.

On the scene, Chrappa stated that he never saw the cyclist, because his view was blocked by the stopped Chevy van -- and he said the crosswalk lights were not flashing as he approached. Asked how fast he was driving, he said, "Whatever the limit is," according to the police report.

The vehicle, with a shattered windshield, was towed from the scene.

At the hospital, the cyclist was wearing a neck brace as he lay in the emergency room bed when police interviewed him. Asked if he had activated the crosswalk signal before entering, he replied, "I didn't."

A scan found that he had broken a vertebrae and suffered a large laceration to the top of his head. He also had a fractured foot. He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.

Christansen was issued a summons for "Pedestrian Disregarded Traffic Control Signal."

And Chrappa was ultimately issued a summons for "Careless Driving Caused Bodily Injury."

Continue for more details from the police report.

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DonkeyHotay topcommenter

It's time to end the Free Ride for Bicyclists!


-- It's time for Mandatory Bicycle Registration, taxes and fees for ALL bikes ridden on Public Roadways.


-- It's time for Mandatory Bicycle Licenses for all operators of bikes ridden upon the Public Roadways.


-- It's time for Mandatory License Plates for all bikes ridden on Public Roads, so that the scofflaws can be more easily identified and brought to justice.


-- It's time for Mandatory Liability Insurance for all bikes ridden on Public Roads, so the lawbreakers can be held accountable for the harm and damage they cause.


Regulation Works !!


Katie Pollard
Katie Pollard

Most bike-riders are careless - I ride my bike to work almost everyday and know to take side streets, STOP AT STOP LIGHTS, and to be wary of cars wherever I am - at the end of the day, they are bigger than I am.

Katie Pollard
Katie Pollard

For the ga-jillionth time, Noemi, cyclists don't belong on the sidewalk. Where the hell are we supposed to walk?

Noemi Ureña
Noemi Ureña

Crazy idea here!!! But what if we put the cyclists on the side walks and the cars on the roads!! What!!!

Craig Hammersmith
Craig Hammersmith

And if you don't like it, stay out of Boulder County. Thanks in advance.

Steve Litherland
Steve Litherland

the cyclists in Boulder push the boundaries of what is safe and legal to do on a bike every day. moral of the story, if road bikers being in the road in dangerous locations and where they have no business is what you look for, spend some time in boulder.


I almost saw the same thing happen in Denver last Friday, but the accident was thankfully avoided, unbelievably. A bicyclist was crossing 4 lanes of traffic on Speer at around 6pm; the three right lanes of traffic were stopped, and the left lane appeared to be clear. The bicyclist began to cross and a SUV came barreling down the left lane, but was able to slam on their breaks in time, and the cyclist stepped off or fell of their bike to jump to the side. Cyclists need to cross busy streets at the proper crosswalks/stop lights. Is cutting across the street to save a few minutes really worth your life? Not in my opinion.


As a cyclist, I'm sympathetic to the rider for his injuries.  However, it certainly looks like this was an easily-avoidable accident and the rider should have exercised more caution.  It's so important to be aware of your surroundings when on a bike, and you cannot assume that cars are going to see you/stop for you.  Why not activate the crosswalk lights?  

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