Last night I repeated the news of the bike ban in Black Hawk, Colorado. You’ll recall that city officials cited ‘safety’ as the reason. So let’s look at bike safety in Black Hawk.
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration keeps traffic fatality statistics for every US county in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System or “FARS.” For the years 2004-2008, there were a total of 3 traffic fatalities in all of Gilpin County, where Black Hawk is located.
The NHTSA specifically tracks pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities. Were any of these fatalities pedestrians or bicyclists? Nope — there have been a total of ZERO bicycle fatalities and ZERO pedestrian fatalities in 2004 through 2008.
Injury statistics for Colorado don’t seem to be readily available online. The Colorado State Police lists 16 injury accidents for Gilpin County for 2008, but there’s no information on if the injured party was a cyclist or not. Somebody would probably need to file a Colorado Open Records Act request with the city of Black Hawk to get his information. Gilpin County traffic injury rate is about the same as the state as a whole, so it doesn’t appear cycling is any more or less dangerous than in the rest of the state.
We know this already, of course, but the evidence shows that “safety” is just an excuse.
Jeff writes, “Since cyclists are banned from using certain public roads, that means they aren’t obligated to pay the taxes that go toward the upkeep of these roads, right?” I wonder how many town residents give a rip. It’s less than two miles long, after all, which isn’t a bad distance to walk.
Another Rocky Mountain casino town — Central City, CO — opened their own four lane highway using city funds in 2004 to whisk Front Range gamblers to their historic town and bypass Black Hawk. While the Central City Parkway was initially closed to cyclists, after some study and testimony, the city opened the road to bicyclists 10 months after the road’s grand opening to motor vehicles. This parkway connects cyclists from the popular Peak-To-Peak Scenic Byway directly to I-70, allowing them to bypass Black Hawk completely.