May 19, 2023 - News

Denver's bike death rate has declined slightly

Good news for anyone celebrating National Bike to Work Day today: Denver's rate of deadly bicycle crashes has declined over the last decade, albeit not dramatically.

By the numbers: There were 3.1 fatal accidents on average for every million Denver residents between 2017-2021 — down 6% from 2012-2016, per data from the League of American Bicyclists via NHTSA.

  • Denver ranked in the middle of the pack compared to fatal bicycle crashes in other major U.S. metro areas, but worse than the national rate of 2.7.

Why it matters: Since the pandemic, bicycle and e-bike use has boomed in Denver and beyond, leaving many cities scrambling to install new bike lanes and other measures meant to keep cyclists safe and encourage further adoption, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick writes.

  • Building infrastructure for cyclists improves safety for riders and encourages people to ditch their cars, which are one of the driving forces of climate change.

Driving the news: This month, the city is installing two miles of protected bike lanes on Blake and Market streets.

  • The move is part of Mayor Michael Hancock's ambitious plan, announced in 2018, to build 125 miles of bike lanes across the city by 2023 — an initiative that could be completed as soon as this month, Axios Denver has learned.

The other side: Despite the slight drop in deaths in recent years, Denver is headed in the wrong direction when it comes to achieving Vision Zero, its goal of eliminating all traffic deaths by 2030.

  • Denver has seen more traffic fatalities in 2021 and 2022 since at least 2013.
  • As of May 18, at least 25 people have been killed in traffic this year, city data shows.

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