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Denver’s Colfax Avenue Stretch is Bike, Pedestrian Crash “Hot Spot”

by  on  Car Accidents & Motor Vehicle Collisions

The intersection of Colfax Avenue and Moline Street near Denver is among the most dangerous in the state for pedestrians and bicycle riders, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

The stretch of road tops CDOT’s list of crash hot spots in the Denver metro area, CDOT said in a new study. That appears to be thanks to its heavy, constant mix of vehicle and foot traffic, along with possible flaws in the way the street is designed.

“CDOT is studying ways to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians within the Denver Metro Area,” the department said in rolling out the study results. “This study includes an evaluation of hot spot (locations with a high concentration of crashes) and systemic (roadway features that are correlated with particular crash types rather than a pattern of existing crashes) improvements on CDOT-owned roadways, with a focus on bicycle and pedestrian safety upgrades.”

Local residents who frequently cross the intersection describe it as perpetually chaotic and fast-paced, according to a CBS news report. The dangerous combination of pedestrians and drivers has resulted in several crashes, including the destruction of a bus stop on two occasions and the death of a 15-year-old who was hit while crossing the street.

Two people were reportedly pinned between a vehicle and a bus stop in late January after a car slammed into the structure. The driver then fled on foot, while at least one of those hit was transported to the hospital with serious injuries.

Just days later, the teenage pedestrian was killed after being struck by a Jeep Wrangler while crossing Colfax. A second teenager struck by the car was said to be seriously injured. They were crossing against traffic, police told Denver 7, and the Jepp driver had the right of way.

Last year, a motorcyclist reportedly died in an August crash in the intersection involving two sport utility vehicles. The biker reportedly was traveling westbound on East Colfax when he was struck by a Ford SUV after the biker swerved to avoid a collision with the other vehicle.

The CDOT report suggests several safety measures, such as adding more lighting and crosswalks, shortening the crossing distance with raised medians and increasing the landscape buffer between the sidewalk and roadway. Some of these improvements are said to be already in progress.

Those who live and work in the area are eagerly anticipating the changes, according to the CBS report.

“It’s always crazy, it’s always hectic here. It’s always fast-paced,” one local resident told the news outlet. “You just stand in the middle and hope not to get hit.”

How Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents Happen in Colorado

As the new CDOT study shows, pedestrian and bicycle accidents can and do happen, especially in or near intersections. They often come with serious and even life-threatening injuries because people have no physical protection and little time to get out of the way of oncoming vehicles.

These accidents can be caused by a number of factors, from aggressive driving or getting behind the wheel while intoxicated to poor road conditions and vehicle manufacturing defects. That is not to mention mistakes by people traveling on foot or bike.

Traffic fatalities across Colorado last year reached the highest total in more than two decades, according to a Denver7 analysis of CDOT data. Negligent and intoxicated driving is largely to blame for the spike, experts told the news outlet.

Nearly 750 people were killed in collisions on Colorado roads last year, up nearly 8 percent from 2021 and the highest total on record since 2002. Traffic deaths have climbed by 57 percent over the last decade alone.

Pedestrians account for a significant share of the fatalities. More than one-third (36%) of people killed in traffic accidents last year were not inside a vehicle at the time of the crash. 

Meanwhile, Denver and the surrounding metro area have seen a wave of hit-and-run crashes to start the new year, including several in which pedestrians were injured or killed. At least 10 people were injured and another two were killed in those collisions in the first four weeks of the year, according to news reports.

Accidents are commonly caused by driver error, but pedestrians are also increasingly to blame. Many accidents at Colfax and Moline occur when people cross the road mid-way, rather than using a crosswalk, according to the CDOT study.

“We’ve actually seen an increase in pedestrians at fault in these crashes.” Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol, told Denver7 of the spike in traffic deaths.“Whether it’s crossing the road in unlit or otherwise unsafe situations or going against the traffic signals, all of those things are there for your safety, whether you’re behind the wheel or on the soles of your shoes.”

Injured in an Accident? Understand Your Rights

Anyone injured in a car crash in Colorado has the right to seek compensation from those responsible. That includes money damages for doctors’ bills, property damage and any impact of the injuries on the person’s ability to earn a living, among other compensation.

Colorado law also gives the family of a person killed in a crash the right to seek just compensation from those responsible for the accident. 

The money damages available in wrongful death cases will not allow you to go back in time and stop the accident from happening. It can, nevertheless, ease some of the financial burden that often comes with losing a loved one.

Speak with a Denver Car Accident Lawyer 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash in Colorado, a Denver car accident lawyer at Levine Law can help you understand your rights and get compensation for your injuries. Our attorneys combine decades of experience and a strong track record of success in the courtroom and through negotiated settlements.

We are pleased to serve clients throughout Colorado, including in Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins and Loveland. Call us at 303-333-8000 or contact us online to speak with a Denver car accident lawyer.