Colorado bicyclist, pedestrian deaths at all-time high in 2017 | CraigDailyPress.com

Colorado bicyclist, pedestrian deaths at all-time high in 2017

Bicycle, pedestrian safety campaign to launch

Craig Press staff report

Helmet use greatly reduces the risk of bicycle-related brain injuries in children.

In 2017, pedestrian and bicycle deaths were at an all-time high, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. Of the 646 traffic deaths in 2017, 109 of those deaths involved a pedestrian or a bicyclist, meaning almost 17 percent of deaths on Colorado roads involved a pedestrian or a bicyclist.

To bring to light the importance of safety on Colorado roads, CDOT is launching a safety campaign that targets bicyclist, pedestrian and driver safety.

"Safety Starts With All of Us" encourages Coloradans and visitors to educate themselves about safety precautions to ensure all road users are as safe as possible. With an increase in car, bicycle and foot traffic on Colorado roads, especially during the summer months, CDOT hopes to lower traffic collisions with pedestrians and bicyclists.

"Tragically, pedestrians are being injured and killed by vehicles at a higher rate than ever before across the nation, and I'm afraid we are seeing the same trend in our local communities. Unfortunately, even if crossing in a crosswalk, you must make sure you are doing everything possible to protect yourself, which means it's really up to you," Maile Gray, executive director of Drive Smart Colorado in Colorado Springs, wrote in a news release.

CDOT's pedestrian and bicycle safety campaign launches in conjunction with Colorado Bike Month in June. Beginning June 4 and continuing through the end of the month, daily weekday Facebook and Twitter posts will include safety tips that drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists can use to ensure everyone is safe on roads. The posts will also include statistics about pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities and quotes from organizational leaders outside CDOT.

In addition to these posts, CDOT also plans to send flyers to community outreach and information centers.

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"We are not bikes and cars on the roads — we're people. We need people driving to obey posted speed limits and focus only on driving, especially where pedestrians and bicyclists are present. We need bicyclists to ride predictably. We need to all be respectful of the shared space on our roads," said Amy Morfas, deputy director of Bicycle Colorado.

For more information about Colorado's pedestrian and bicycle laws, visit the CDOT website.