Traffic Violence Report: Police Warn Caution After 2 Deaths and 1 Serious Injury in 2 Days

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0619 TVR

Denver police are asking drivers to use caution after three motorcycle crashes resulted in two deaths and one serious injury between June 20 and 22. (Streetsblog reported the first fatality in last week’s report.)

“Be aware there are more motorcycles on the road this time of year and they are harder to see than cars,” according to Denver police Lt. Robert Rock, in a quote first reported in the Denver Post.

The recent bloodshed brings the number of motorcyclists killed this year to eight. The total number of traffic fatalities adds up to 35, compared to 29 deaths at this point last year. And now the police department flirts with victim blaming by asking motorcyclists to take more responsibility for their own safety. According to the Denver Post:

Rock recommended that motorcycle riders wear a helmet, wear visible and reflective outer clothing, get training to ride a motorcycle, ride within the speed limit and always look at the other drivers’ action inside cars to anticipate what they do.

But looking at drivers and wearing reflective gear are likely to have only a small impact on fatalities and injuries as long as Denver’s streets continue to encourage unsafe driving. The city plans to make road improvements that will help meet its Vision Zero goal to end all traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030, but so far the Department of Public Works is installing those safety upgrades at a glacial pace.

If the road improvements in the city’s Vision Zero Action Plan are implemented, the number of traffic fatalities would certainly decline, a fact backed up by a recent University of Colorado Denver study. It showed that high-quality bicycle infrastructure reduces traffic fatalities drastically for all road users, including people who ride bikes, pedestrians and motorists.

But ahead of Bike to Work Day tomorrow, there is one bright spot in the report. There have been no bicycle fatalities so-far this year. At this point last year, drivers had killed three people on bikes.