Gelseigh Karl-Cannon, recent Columbia grad, ID'd as cyclist killed in Cherry Creek North

Categories: News

Gelseigh Karl Cannon.jpg
Pics, videos below.
Update below: The hit-and-run death of Dan Peterson earlier this year has increased the focus on car-versus-bicycle accidents -- a major theme of Sam Levin's feature "On a Roll." The latest incident of this type, a crash in Cherry Creek North, took the life of Gelseigh Karl-Cannon, 23, a recent Columbia graduate and, by all indications, an absolutely fascinating person with a bright future ahead of her. See photos and video below.

Gelseigh Karl Cannon snow.jpg
Gelseigh Karl-Cannon in a 2009 photo.
Karl-Cannon was originally from Hartford, Connecticut, as indicated by her Facebook page. She's also mentioned in a 2010 New York Times article about spring coming to Manhattan that year. Here's an excerpt:
Lindsey Karl of West Hartford, Conn., rose from her meal and walked to the curb to catch a little warmth from the sun shining there. Her daughter Gelseigh Karl-Cannon, a junior at Columbia, stayed put, shivering in her overcoat and jiggling her legs -- clad in long socks -- to stay warm. Eating outdoors, she explained, had been her idea, and it was important to tough it out.

"This is the first nice day of the year," Ms. Karl-Cannon said. "I guess when you live in New York, you just get used to being cold a lot of the time. When my friends and I go out at night, there's usually a stiff breeze blowing."

Her mother, looking unconvinced, suggested they move on. "This has been a pretty short brunch," Ms. Karl said.

That the Times caught Karl-Cannon enjoying food is appropriate. As noted in her LinkedIn profile, she was an environmental studies major at Columbia. But she appears to have been well-known around campus for her participation in 4Local, whose website describes the project like so:
We are a group of students dedicated to providing sustainable, delicious and healthy food to the Columbia campus. Sign up below for our weekly lunch program, submit an $8 payment (by paypal or credit card) and then come visit us on Monday to pick up a tasty, freshly prepared 3-course vegetarian boxed lunch. We source local and organic ingredients whenever possible.
Here's a photo of Karl-Cannon from the site:

Gelseigh Karl Cannon 4local.jpg
In addition, the school's newspaper, the Columbia Daily Spectator, featured Karl-Cannon in a senior spotlight video. The clip, on view below, depicts her as a bright, funny young woman with a very clear idea of where she was going in her life.

Such hopes ended at about 11 a.m. on Tuesday, when Karl-Cannon was hit by a truck near the intersection of 1st Avenue and Clayton Street. She was rushed to a nearby hospital, but was pronounced dead when she failed to respond to treatment. The Denver coroner's office lists her cause of death as "complications of pelvic crush injury," and its manner as "accidental."

An extremely tragic accident it was -- and one sure to further ratchet up concerns about the interaction between cyclists and motor vehicles in Denver. Here's the Spectator video.

Senior Spotlight: Gelseigh Karl-Cannon from Columbia Daily Spectator on Vimeo.

Update, 9:28 a.m. November 8: Continue to see an excerpt from the police report on the accident.


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61 comments
Chelsie Worth
Chelsie Worth

Obviously the issue here is with the infrastructure. Our roads are made with car traffic in mind; not bike and car as equals. I've been on both sides of the argument (and terrifying ride/drive situations). We need to stop blaming each other for just trying to get around and start talking to our local government and planning departments. Plenty of people need their big F-250's or mini-vans, some people like to bike for whatever reason (health, money, carbon footprint etc), some do both. Let's just chill, recognize the weird transition period our transportation is in here and try to do something about it. Let's not let anyone else get hurt though; this is tragic.

Jay Jurgens
Jay Jurgens

im very sorry this happened to her it is a complete tragedy but i see you yelling about your right of way,right of way doesnt give you the right to be an asshole,right of way doesnt give you the right to ride on roads where anyone with common sense wouldnt be riding in the first place,i am sick and fucking tired of you cyclists and your right of way horseshit i could just puke.i have watched cyclists ignore stop sighns and violate traffic rules and cause disputes over this right of way when they were clearly in the wrong.this is a complete tragidy but if your going to ride a bike on the road with cars this is going to happen and while i feel sorry for her and her family you can take your i had the right of way and stick it up your ass

Jen Symank
Jen Symank

I think cyclist need to be licensed and insured in order to be on the road, they should have to take a test about the rules of the road and carry insurance. Drivers don't have respect for cyclists because they do not follow the rules of the road (riding single file, not going to the front of a red light because you fit between the cars (you don't see motorcyclists doing this, and they fit too), downhill has the right of way, lights, stops, signaling!!!). If you want to be on the road, want special bike lanes, pay special road fees like vehicles have to! Otherwise it is simple physics; the person on the bike is responsible for making sure they are safe and that they are watching out for traffic because they are the ones with a bigger risk, they also choose to take the risk so.....we tell kids in bike safety the most important thing is to be on the lookout for cars and why do we tell them that?. Cause its hard to see a small cyclist out of a car and oh yeah, they will kill you! Get over it cyclists OR change your culture, its your life!

Drew Schaefer
Drew Schaefer

I have survived Car-Crashes-Into-BIKE (mine) five times... I have had the right of way FIVE TIMES... I am *lucky* and nothing more. I have enjoyed vacationing in Montréal and Amsterdam: two of the world's finest cities for citizen-bikers; both have integrated two-way bike-paths adjacent to main city streets, with well-timed traffic (red/green) lights that put an advantage to the slower-accelerating cycles. This tragedy seemingly happened 'from behind' of the cyclist; how she actually was crushed isn't evident from the 'pro-forma' police report. It's been many a year since I rode across Denver to get to school at UC-Denver, yet 'trepidation' is the word du jour when I think now of riding there again... A sad day for Denver Drivers... they took away another healthy human being's right to share the road... State law requires (I believe) a 3-ft clearance laterally from bicycle to passing vehicle(s); obviously this was not the case.

dsfarrell
dsfarrell

While the facts are still coming in for this particular tragedy, I'll tell you one thing for sure. If people would shut off their damn phones and focus on the road a lot fewer people would be killed and injured every year.  That includes pedestrians, cyclists as well people in vehicles.  That phone call or text can and should wait.

robertweller
robertweller

Michael: It turns out there is a 35 mph sign westbound, lurking behind a tree. so we have people coming via alameda and then through cherry creek. i suggest lowering the speed to 30 and enforcing it would make it safer and reduce non-shopping traffic because it would be less of a major route to lodo.

robertweller
robertweller

I drove through Cherry Creek from west this afternoon. There isn't even a speed limit sign, just one saying slow down to 30 on the curve. Therefore I assume the speed limit is 35, which is too high. You would think the mall store owners and the Cherry Creek North store owners would want to make their clients safe.

Damon Wood
Damon Wood

so sad. and the comments on here are disgusting. people really suck. a young girl died and you all wanna talk shit? ridiculous.

Damon Wood
Damon Wood

i walked by the scene after and saw the bike, and the truck, so sad. fuck the laws, i ride on the sidewalk and never cross a street without looking. people in cars are fucking morons.

dash30
dash30

First Avenue narrows sharply just at the point where she was hit. She was riding with the flow of traffic, as far to the right as she could get. She was doing the best she could. It is a tragedy and I hope her family and others who knew her can find a way to bear the terrible loss of a daughter, sister and friend. She seemed like a lovely person.

kklamarie
kklamarie

Gelseigh was an amazing person and a dear friend. I do not know why she was riding there, as I am sure that she knew better because she was an excellent cyclist and a very smart woman, but nobody expects these things to happen.  The fact is that this was a tragedy, and trying to put the blame on her or the truck driver is just purely insensitive.  

ainsleykc
ainsleykc

She was not on her phone or listening to her iPod. She was on a road that was unfortunately too narrow for a cyclist and a truck. I do not know the area but cannot stop wishing their was a bike lane for her to ride safely in. Please try to have a little respect. I would not insult your sister or how her life was tragically taken away from her, so please do not insult mine. I hope that the many individuals feeling the need to post negative comments on this site can find another, more productive and less hurtful way of expressing their feelings. Thank you

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

Michael, Westword needs a commenting system that integrates the clueless conversants from social media with us, so that their amazingly stupid comments can be properly subjected to the criticism they deserve.

Heidi Netter Welsh
Heidi Netter Welsh

so sad:( I try to practice self preservation and follow rules of the road, but there are always dangerous distracted drivers. I use both forms of transportation and, inevitably, there are stupid cyclists and stupid drivers. Don't group everyone into one category! Lastly, I want to invent a bike camera to catch these horrible people who run down girls on their bikes.

robertweller
robertweller

I agree about bicycle paths and lanes but as noted speed limits need to be lower, especially in an area like Cherry Creek. And the mall and Cherry Creek North should set up at least one pedestrian overpass. One does not expect to die while shopping in the state's most exclusive shopping area.

Jeremy Coss
Jeremy Coss

I don't know how she was hit, but the douchbags I see never pay attention to things like stop signs and red lights. They seem to feel that because they are on a bike, they don't have to follow laws like that.

robertweller
robertweller

I am not putting the onus on drivers alone. No one should risk their lives through dangerous behavior. But the idea that traffic should be allowed to speed through our most famous mall area (and often the No. 1 tourist attraction in the state) is not sound. And the idea that the mall and Cherry Creek Mall should not do everything possible to make visiting safer is not good business.

Although there is tons of traffic around Park Meadows, once you get in the parking area, it is much safer.

robertweller
robertweller

I was raised in California, and Colorado, and was taught early on that it is the driver's obligation to avoid pedestrians and bicyclists. If someone walks across the street in the middle of the street you stop. Was this near the Cherry Creek Mall. Police allow traffic to drive through that area too fast. And the mall, despite competition with Cherry Creek North, should have built an overhead passenger bridge long ago.

Chris Estus
Chris Estus

I think the biggest problem is that bikes are supposed to be treated as cars but they can't move fast enough to not cause traffic issues. They should be not allowed to ride on roads where they will reduce the flow of traffic and can't keep up with the speed of traffic.

Evelyn Maria
Evelyn Maria

I am sorry to say I see people breaking the law continually when riding bikes and hardly stopping at red lites. It's a huge issue these days. I don't let my son ride on major roads he is on trails and then I would pick him up, he is over 21 as well. I would not ride on a motorcycle either as I don't think cars see them most of the time.

bikingguest
bikingguest

So what about the article in the Denver Post yesterday........"a witness to the accident reposrted

that Karl-Cannon hit the curb, went down and was hit by the truck'?  I happened to be driving east

bound on 1st Ave when the police still had the scene blocked off and it looked like the truck

involved was a large delivery truck. Not an SUV.

It was a tragic accident, but I have to question the cyclist's decision to ride westbound on 1st

Ave in that area.  The lanes are not overly wide, the traffic is heavy.  It would be hard to stop in

time if someone fell in front of a vehicle.

There are other routes that would be safer

So Sad

Sharon Brisnehan
Sharon Brisnehan

I think those rainbow clown hair bike helmets are terrific. Anything that makes a driver more conscious that what is outside of their car is in peril and more important than, their phone, their music, etc.

Ben Trayvon Reel
Ben Trayvon Reel

Go ahead bikes ride on the road .. I wouldn't trust the average driver on the road with my life. Take your chances i don't really care . It's your life not mine

Philip Fick
Philip Fick

Survival of the fittest. If you do something stupid you might pay the price. Bicyclists with ipods, ignoring laws, etc....its sad that people get injured or die riding bikes. Can be risky business. Motorcyclists and bikes need to be super defensive and vigilant on the road, because there are some really bad drivers out there.

Stephen At Half Aspen
Stephen At Half Aspen

We've been arguing vehicles versus bicycles for decades. The cold harsh reality is there are reckless drivers and reckless cyclists and when the two meet, well, it's not pretty. Life is a gamble. You can seal yourself up in a bubble or you can roll the dice and live life, long or short.

Scott Green
Scott Green

I live in and drive through central denver everyday and while I appreciate cyclists and their right to share the road, I find them to be a huge hazard. I have lost count of the number of times I have seen a cyclist shoot through an intersection and almost get hit or ride slowly on a mine artery when they are a block or two away from a bike lane causing a huge back up. They have a right to be on the road but they also have a responsibility to be a common sense citizen of the road.

Benjamin Bradburn
Benjamin Bradburn

Please don't speculate about how/why she died. It's incredibly disrespectful. There are plenty of pricks on bikes that don't follow the rules, but there are plenty that do too. Just like there are plenty of people in cars that do the same thing. I've been run off the road multiple times on the way to work by people when riding in a bike and bus only lane. People on vehicles do stupid things. The difference is that stupidity in cars can kill people.

Randall Erkelens
Randall Erkelens

Half of all people in cars I see every day on my commute have a phone in hand. Distracted drivers have added to the bike/vehicle issues as it has contributed to an increase in regular car/car accidents.

redhorse680552003
redhorse680552003

@Drew Schaefer Hi Drew, we are doing a Ride of Silence May 15, in Woodland Park to honor those that have been injured or killed by motorists. I was happy to read your comments. We will release Bio degradable balloons with the names of the cyclists that were killed in 2012. It is a free event. www.mountaintopcyclingclub.com

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

 @robertweller Thanks for taking the time to check out the signage in this area, and for posting. Much appreciated.

robertweller
robertweller

Now learn it is Denver traffic engineer's policy to not make speed limit signs prominent. Don't know why?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @robertweller " Therefore I assume the speed limit is 35"

 

Legal Fail!

 

Surrender your driver's license now, fool.

buffman
buffman

 @robertweller you act like the store owners and the mall owners have any power to decide the speed limit?  It is the City of Denver traffic division who sets speed limits and follows accident rates.

matthew.hiller
matthew.hiller

 @dash30 

 

Crap. I knew Gelseigh from her time managing the Columbia-neighborhood CSA; terrible loss.

 

Unfortunately, riding so far to the right in a lane that is too narrow to share can cause this sort of collision. Good drivers will move over and give you a few feet of clearance, but not everyone will recognize the danger that crowding you will cause and present a clear danger to you.

 

The response? Ride mid-lane, or at least as far over to the left as the rightmost set of tire tracks the cars are making.

 

---

 

Here's a good animation of the principle at play: http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/animations/lane-control/

 

---

 

This rule is especially useful to apply when stopping at a traffic light, in fact. Line up mid-lane, or well to the left of the bike lane, and force cars to stop behind you, or if they're turning, to turn around you. It helps eliminate the conflict point.

 

---

 

Again, very sad loss, and I'm upset. I don't want anyone to get the idea that riding as far to the right as is possibly manageable to stay safe is the take home message here, though! It's the opposite.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

 @dash30 Well said, Dash. We're going to make your post an upcoming Comment of the Day. Appreciate you weighing in -- and we join you in offering our condolences.

pamelakoch14
pamelakoch14

 @ainsleykc I knew your sister from the Columbia CSA she was such an inspirational, amazing person. I am so saddened by her lose and my thoughts are with your family at this very sad time. Pam Koch

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @RobertChase This from the dilettante that whined and complained about Disqus.

 

You = know-nothing

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @robertweller 

 

You do know that the speed LIMIT is the maximum, you are allowed to drive SLOWER as necessary for SAFETY.

 

 

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

@robertweller

Bicyclists should be provided safe, segregated lanes of travel.  The following does not bear directly on the conditions that contributed to the tragic death of Gelseigh Karl-Cannon, but it certainly indicates a lack of appropriate standards for setting speed limits.  Coloradans repose absolute and unquestioning trust in most of our institutions, and certainly the CDOT, but since we need new transportation policies that take greater cognizance of other means of transportation than automotive, this trust hinders change.

 

Take a drive into town along Alameda, Steele St. and 1st Ave.  Note that as you enter the most congested part of Cherry Creek, where the road twists and there are several complex, non-rectilinear intersections, the speed limit is thirty-five mph (see:  http://goo.gl/maps/XIpPM).  As you approach the Country Club, where the road is straight, a broad median separates the lanes of travel, and there is much less cross-traffic, the speed limit drops to thirty mph (see:  http://goo.gl/maps/RgKEE).  This makes absolutely no sense; one wonders if the speed limits in the area were set for the purpose of maximizing revenue from selective enforcement in the vicinity of the Country Club, rather than any concerns for public safety.

 

The Cherry Creek bike path should proceed along Cherry Creek through the Country Club; the banks of every perennial watercourse in Colorado should be public property!  Gelseigh Karl-Cannon might be alive today if the Cherry Creek bike path followed Cherry Creek instead of being shoved hard up against a major thoroughfare.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @robertweller "and was taught early on that it is the driver's obligation to avoid pedestrians and bicyclists."

 

Only a suicidal imbecile would place their life in the hands of an unknown stranger driving 2 tons of steel.

 

The graveyard is full of fools who demanded "the other guy" avoid them!

 

 

eldaveablo
eldaveablo

 @robertweller Roads are dangerous places - especially in high traffic areas like Cherry Creek North - and safety is everyone's obligation. This is a tragedy, but putting the onus on drivers alone is a dangerous point of view to have. 

robertweller
robertweller

 @buffman  @robertweller and you don't think pressure from them would not get the speed limit lowered? and nothing is stopping from from building a pedestrian overpass, which would make the indoor parking available for both shopping areas. safety is not the no. 1 priority of denver's traffic people, it is to keep traffic moving as fast as possible.

gsi1992
gsi1992

You're such a troll, just wanting to get under every persons skin who doesn't agree with you. I've seen your stupid comments on just about every article having to do with cyclists. Just shut up. BTW, yes it is a speed limit, however, you can legally get a traffic ticket for driving a vehicle 4 mph less that the posted speed limit. Jack Ass, i mean, Donkey.

thefemaleofthespecies
thefemaleofthespecies

@RobertChase@robertweller

 while I agree with much of what you have to say, I'd just like to point out that it would be near impossible to have segregated bike paths on every street, particularly within the city. And the paths that are available tend to have issues with people parking in them, businesses, residents, and Denver street-cleaners sweeping debris onto them, and the fact that the only thing getting snow off a bike path is the sun. Perhaps more designated paths on major thoroughfares since it is illegal to ride on the sidewalk. 

 

Honestly, I think our current laws are well thought-out and acceptable, but If the cyclist/motorist battle is ever going to progress to a state where everyone can safely share the road, we need a huge push in re-education, clarification and adjustment of a few of these laws. Add in enforcement on both sides, and if that requires some kind of licensing I will gladly do so.

 

The other day, I called the police to report some aggressive driving (driver punched the gas behind me while I was in the left lane signalling to make a left turn, coming within maybe two feet of hitting my rear tire, laughing as he passed as I almost dumped my bike) and almost I soon as I said the word bicycle, the womans voice changed tone and she rather icily told me there was nothing I could do because it is hearsay and that I should be more careful next time. Even had two witnesses who got the plate number... Sidenote: thank you thank you so much to the couple who ran up to me after I pulled onto the sidewalk to check that I was okay, you instantly restored my faith in humanity! Hope to see you in the neighborhood and buy you a beer so I can properly thank you. You'll have to pardon me for not doing a better job of it then as I was rather frazzled at that time.

 

Clearly things have to change. In the meantime, everybody please calm down and remember we are all just trying to get to where we need to go.

 

And to my fellow cyclists: for fucks' sake stop at the damn stoplights and signs! Yes, even on a one-way street. I think its kinda silly at times too but, it drives some folks absolutely crazy and seems to breed contempt for us. 

 

Take Care everyone!

 

robertweller
robertweller

 @DonkeyHotay your rude comments suggest i certainly would not want to rely on you to avoid hitting me. i do not expect drivers to avoid hitting me. but i do give pedestrians and bicyclists the right of way under all circumstances. i also let people who need to move over to move in front of me. guess that makes me a suicidal imbecile.

robertweller
robertweller

 @eldaveablo what is dangerous is letting drivers speed through this area. it is also not a good business model. cherry creek mall and cherry creek north are one. and parking should be encourage in the mall parking for those going across the street. on many occasions i have been at shops in the mall and in cherry creek north (att is there and the tattered cover used to be)

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @gsi1992 

 

Troll = someone who posts uncomfortable truths that you can't refute.

 

hth.

robertweller
robertweller

 @thefemaleofthespecies  @RobertChase  i am talking specifically about the road in front of cherry creek mall. as another writer pointed out when it crosses over to the east and becomes speer, and a luxury neighborhood, the speed limit drops to 30. for those of us who shop in both the mall and cherry creek north it would be safer with a lower speed limit. also, a pedestrian overpass would help with the parking.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @robertweller "your rude comments suggest i certainly would not want to rely on you to avoid hitting me"

 

Q.E.D.

 

 

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