6 Streets and 5 Intersections in Serious Need of Safer Bike Infrastructure

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Seven people were injured while biking at the intersection of Broadway and 12th Avenue from 2008 to 2012. Image: Google Maps

The City of Denver released reams of information when Mayor Michael Hancock committed to ending traffic fatalities, including some long awaited data on bike safety. Streetsblog is combing through it all — let’s start with the streets and intersections where people on bikes are getting hurt the most.

From 2008 to 2012, there were 1,325 reported bike crashes in Denver [PDF]. That likely undercounts the real total, since only crashes reported to police get entered into the record. While the data is a little behind the times because some of these streets have been redesigned since 2012, most of them remain quite dangerous.

Without further ado, here are Denver’s five worst intersections and six worst streets for bike safety. The key question going forward is what Mayor Michael Hancock, his Department of Public Works, and the Denver Police Department will do to make these places safer for people on bikes.

Colfax and Broadway – 9 Crashes

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Image: Google Maps

Lincoln and Colfax – 8 crashes

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Image: Google Maps

Lipan and Evans – 7 crashes

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Image: Google Maps

12th and Broadway – 7 crashes

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Image: Google Maps

Kalamath and Alameda – 7 crashes

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Image: Google Maps

And now the streets…

12th Avenue: 17 crashes/mile, 24 total

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12th Avenue is technically a bike route, but riders have to get by with nothing but sharrows next to heavy car and bus traffic. Image: Google Maps

15th Street: 15 crashes/mile, 27 total

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More recent data on 15th might paint a different picture, since the street was redesigned with a protected bike lane after the 2008-2012 study period. Image: Google Maps

3. E. 16th Avenue: 14 crashes/mile, 23 total

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Denver Public Works may re-time traffic signals on 16th to prioritize bicycles — as the data comes in, we’ll see if it made the street safer. Image: Google Maps
4. East Colfax Avenue: 10 crashes/mile, 57 total
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Colfax is probably the scariest place to ride a bike, and the number of crashes backs that up. Image: Google Maps

5. Lincoln Street: 10 crashes/mile, 22 total

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One of the many reasons that city planners are working to overhaul the Broadway/Lincoln corridor. Image: Google Maps

6. Broadway 10 crashes/mile, 30 total

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If only there was enough room for a protected bike lane on Broadway that wouldn’t worsen all the terrible congestion. Image: Google Maps
Stay tuned — next week Streetsblog will look at how the city plans to make cycling safer.
  • mckillio

    I mean, to an extent some of these roads and intersections just shouldn’t have bikes on them out of shear self preservation but there are certainly things that can and should be done to mitigate the dangers. I would imagine that a lot of the issues with 12th Ave will fix themselves due to the new 11th Ave bike lane and hopefully a net reduction in crashes due to having a dedicated lane.

  • John Riecke

    Many of these streets and intersections are overly wide, definitely engineered to move car traffic at high speed, whether that makes sense in a city context or not.

    • John

      WTF, that caption: “protected bike lane on Broadway that that wouldn’t worsen all the terrible congestion”. Gimme a break, bicycles are part of the solution to the solution of CAR congestion! I just know we’re going to get a half-assed Broadway bike lane, which is really no solution at all, but something has to be done to reduce CAR usage. John is right, 6 lanes through the heart of a city is too much. 6 lanes and there’s still congestion – well, clearly they’re doing something wrong!

      • David Sachs

        That was sarcasm. There isn’t any congestion in the picture. Sorry, should’ve been clearer.

      • Robert T.

        Do people ever ride Broadway instead of driving? Would they? I see these as very different trips. Besides, bike commuters take Logan…

      • Individual car usage is down substantially but metro Denver’s population has tripled since the 1970s, and stands to double again over the next 30 years. so auto use has to fall by 50% between now and then or Denver will need more lane capacity, and that simply isn’t going to happen with 88% of all new housing in the metro-area being built outside the Denver city limits.

        The way that I see it, what will eventually limit auto-use the most on Denver’s streets is home prices and rents rising to the point where the vast majority of metro-Denver residents simply can’t afford to live in the city, and eventually competing suburban business parks and entertainment options develop that subtract from any need to keep driving downtown on a regular basis.

        This recent piece from City Lab describes the issue in detail, and I would recommend reading it. “The Incredible Rise of Urban Real Estate: New data from Zillow shows that average urban home prices in the U.S. now surpass those of the suburbs”, February 25th, 2016. (which is already quite true in Denver versus its suburbs too).


        How many of you major road riders read that 2015 CSU study that found that bikers who insist on riding on major roads face 3-4 times the level of auto exhaust as well as considerably higher amounts of other inhaled substances such as asphalt or concrete dust, brake pad dust, and rubber dust when you insist on riding major roads over riding minor roads or on off-street bicycle paths?