Reckless Driver Kills Grandfather and Bike Advocate Scott Hendrickson
Scott Hendrickson, a beloved cyclist, pedicab driver and bike shop worker with a macabre sense of humor, died after being hit by a reckless driver last week at one of Denver’s many unsafe intersections — the first person on a bike killed so far this year.
Police have offered little information about the moments leading up to the crash that killed Hendrickson on Friday, July 12, but friends of the cyclist said the death is a wake-up call for a city that has too many dangerous places and too many cars.
“He was an avid cyclist, so if somebody like that is killed by a motorist, you know that we’ve got a problem,” said Hendrickson’s friend Brad Evans, founder of the Denver Cruisers Ride.
Few details have been released about the crash, except that it occurred at around 5:45 p.m. near the West-Bar-Val-Wood Park in the Valverde neighborhood. Cops say the driver of a minivan headed south on South Tejon Street crashed into Hendrickson, who was cycling westbound on W. Bayaud Avenue.
Hendrickson, 62, died the next day. The driver remained on the scene, but was not charged.
Friends mourned the bike riding activist with the big personality — who once joked about his own death by sending a around photo of himself and his bike with the caption, “Not dead yet.”
“He was an avid cyclist, a devoted dad, a true-blue friend,” said Evans. “If he knew who was in the pedicab, he’d take you on the ride of your life.”
Hendrickson was an experienced bike rider and his death highlights how dangerous the city’s streets can be, said Evans.
Hendrickson had been riding in a bike lane that ended at the intersection where he was killed. The white line indicating where drivers should stop has mostly faded. There are no crosswalks and few sidewalks nearby.
The city recently installed a traffic calming island at the intersection, but not where the crash happened. Cycling advocates say the Department of Public Works should install street safety elements, such as protected bike lanes, that could have saved the life of Hendickson, and others who are dying in greater numbers this year.
Bike advocates, friends and colleagues said Hendrickson will be remembered as a fun, outgoing man who went out of his way to make people happy. He also gave himself a unique nickname.
“When I met him, he introduced himself as Crazy Uncle Scott,” said Todd. “He was as nice a guy as you can get.”
Elizabeth Toktay was his roommate and a coworker at Comedy Works, where he helped customers plan birthday parties. She highlighted how Hendrickson exuded lively enthusiasm and concern for others.
“He came in every day, full of energy and positivity,” she said. “His presence lifted our spirits.”
He wanted to share his love of bicycles with his grandson, who is learning to ride a bike, said Toktay.
“To share that with his grandson, he was just so thrilled,” she said. Hendrickson died Saturday. “He was supposed to start teaching his grandson on Monday.”
The Denver Cruiser Ride on July 31 will be dedicated to Hendrickson.
Streetsblog will follow this story with new information as it becomes available.
Note: Streetsblog uses the term “reckless” for drivers who kill people. Drivers are responsible to exercise care and keep their vehicles under control at all times. Studies show virtually all crashes are avoidable if drivers are paying attention and driving slowly.
Correction: This story has been corrected to reflect the directions the parties were traveling, which had been transposed in an earlier version.
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