Colorado State Patrol: Bike safety could save your child’s life

Heather Willard

Heather Willard / NewsBreak Denver

(Colorado) Bicycle-vehicle crashes peak from June through October, with the most crashes occurring in July, the Colorado State Patrol reported.

While school is out for the summer, teens and kids spend more time in their neighborhoods and use bicycles, the fastest, easiest mode of transportation.

Statewide, nearly 17 bicyclists die in crashes each year.

The Colorado State Patrol asks parents to remind their children about road safety to prevent bike-vehicle crashes and possibly save lives.

Col. Matthew C. Packard, Patrol chief, said motorists are expected to share the roads, but cyclists also need to follow the rules of the road.

“It’s easy to blame drivers, but they are not always responsible for these crashes,” Packard said. “Go outside with your child for an annual review of traffic safety rules so that we can reduce the chance of a preventable tragedy.”

In Douglas County, one person died in 2019 in a bicycle-vehicle crash and a second cyclist died in 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency does not maintain information for non-fatal bicycle vs. vehicle crashes by state or region.

Over a quarter (26%) of the 2019-2021 average number of bicycle vs. vehicle crashes involved people 17 or younger, the Patrol reported. The next largest groups were people 60-69 (21%) and 70-79 (12%).

“It is normal for kids to have difficulty judging the speed and distance of oncoming vehicles and it is also not unusual for kids to lack a sense of danger,” said Packard.

“Going with your child to show them what to do at different kinds of intersections, traffic signs and challenging roadways will prepare them with the information they need to ride safely.”

Additional analysis of 2019-2021 data shows a majority of cyclists found to be at fault were cited for riding into the path of a vehicle. Motorists were most commonly cited for failing to properly pass a bike on the left.

To stay safe, cyclists should assume that they never have the right-of-way while sharing the road. The State Patrol recommends cyclists swap out earbuds or headphones for a helmet that fits properly.

The patrol also asks parents to take their young cyclists out into the neighborhood at the beginning of each summer season to review the ‘rules of the road,’ including the ‘Safety Stop’ that just went into effect this year.

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Public safety reporter in DougCo, Denver metro. Previously: Pueblo Chieftain public safety reporter, Athens Messenger associate editor. Caffeine fiend, cat mom and lover of all things spooky.

Broomfield, CO
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