Jan 19, 2024 - News

Denver sees jump in serious car crashes

Data: Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure; Note: Figures for 2023 are preliminary; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure; Note: Figures for 2023 are preliminary; Chart: Axios Visuals

Serious crashes on Denver streets increased last year while fatal accidents remained largely flat.

By the numbers: At least 424 accidents with serious bodily injury were reported on city roads in 2023, up 10% from the previous year, according to preliminary data from the city's Department of Transportation and Infrastructure.

  • 83 people died in crashes last year — just one less than the total in the two previous years.

Why it matters: The figures illustrate Denver is far from its Vision Zero goal, which seeks to eliminate traffic deaths by 2030.

Between the lines: Rolf Eisinger, Denver's Vision Zero program manager, says speed is a factor in both the severity and frequency of crashes.

  • Posted speed limits have been lowered in residential neighborhoods to 20 mph, with Eisinger telling us signs have been changed on roughly two-thirds of streets.
  • Meanwhile, speed limits on at least six busier corridors have been lowered since 2019.

Zoom out: Data suggests intersections are particularly dangerous for pedestrians in Colorado, accounting for 32% of fatal crashes between 2017 and 2021, the most in the nation.

  • That's according to a new study from Injured in Florida, a personal injury attorney firm, which used figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The bottom line: Denver is taking several steps to reduce serious crashes, including building bike lanes, adding "bulb-outs" that extend the sidewalk or curb to reduce crossing distance for pedestrians, and improving local transit, which is statistically the safest way to travel.

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