Denver cyclists face greater risks for accidents

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As one of the most active and outdoorsy cities, warm weather tends to bring forth an increase of cyclists in Denver. In the warmer seasons, more people are opting to bike to destinations rather than drive. As a result of an increase in cyclists, stricter enforcement has been implemented.

All throughout Colorado, more bike lanes have been created to ensure more safety for cyclists. Cyclists have to follow the same laws drivers and motorcyclist do:

Yielding to pedestrians, signaling turns, and obeying laws and signals, just to name a few. Yet with all the laws designed to make roads more bike-friendly and to keep
cyclists safe, some cyclists still fail to obey these laws, contributing to the increase of cyclist deaths. “Some cyclists want to be like cars driving on the roads but fail to stop at stop signs or obey basic traffic laws,” Kayla Jefferson, a senior at CU Denver said.

An officer inspects a bicycling accident. Photo courtesy of Paul Aiken

Just this summer, there were numerous incidents reported regarding cyclist deaths. In June, a 54-year-old man was killed while cycling along South Wadsworth Boulevard. The man was switching over to the right lane when he was struck by an oncoming SUV.

A similar story was reported a month later. In July, a 71-year-old man was killed in a cycling accident in Loveland.

While biking, the man tried to switch lanes but failed to notice an SUV in the next lane over. He collided into the passenger side of the car, sustained serious injuries, and passed away.

More and more incidents like these are continuously being reported. Unfortunately, with an increase of cyclists in Colorado, and all around the country, there is an increase in cyclist accidents and deaths.

According to a Denver Post article, the number of cyclist deaths in Denver is increasing by 55 deaths per year. The majority of these fatal accidents are happening on roadways. And with today’s society being so addicted to technology and their phones, many of these accidents are due to distractions. In addition to many cyclists not paying as much attention to the road as they should, many of them are not wearing helmets, leading to more serious injuries and complications.

A study done at the CU School of Medicine discovered that the majority of collisions are occurring in urban, downtown areas. As a commuter campus, these facts are incredibly scary for CU Denver. However, knowing these facts can serve as a valuable tool to help prevent more collisions from occurring.

Drivers know the implication with texting and driving and how crucial it is not be distracted behind the wheel, especially near campus. State laws did their job by establishing more bike lanes. It’s up to the people now, especially in the city, to take matters into their own hands to prevent the number of accidents from increasing by another 55 deaths per year.

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