Denver bike cop hit by truck

A Denver bike patrol officer was Just Riding Along when he was hit by a right turning pickup truck on Colfax Avenue in a SMIDSY incident.

According to Denver news sources, two officers were biking westbound on Colfax across Lafayette Street in the crosswalk when one of the policemen was hit by a northbound Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. The officer was thrown from the bike and sprained his knee in the fall.

The driver had a stop sign on Lafayette and failed to check both ways before making his turn onto Colfax. If I’ve pictured this correctly, the officers were riding in the sidewalk on the wrong side of the road. Sidewalk riding is generally illegal in Denver, though police officers are exempted from this rule. Under Colorado state law, cyclists in the crosswalk are treated as pedestrians. In my experience, Colorado Front Range drivers do poorly in respecting pedestrian space and yielding right-of-way at occupied crosswalks.

The injured policeman is expected to recover. The driver of the Tacoma was ticketed for “careless driving.”

12 Comments

  • Andy
    January 26, 2011 - 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Scofflaw cyclists! Don’t they know the laws?

  • January 26, 2011 - 8:44 pm | Permalink

    I often see cops on the sidewalk on Colfax. Apparently they’re allowed–despite big “NO BIKES ON SIDEWALK” signs–if they’re on duty. But, as this incident shows, that doesn’t mean its a good idea.

  • January 26, 2011 - 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Yep, Denver law specifically exempts uniformed police officers from the sidewalk riding rule.

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  • January 26, 2011 - 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Sidewalk salmoning – a bad idea regardless of legality.

  • MikeOnBike
    January 26, 2011 - 11:01 pm | Permalink

    Looking at Google Maps, this is an odd intersection. Lafayette is offset, so it’s right-turn-only with a stop sign at Colfax. Meanwhile, Colfax has a traffic signal. One of the signal heads appears to be visible from the left sidewalk.

    The motorist would have been looking left for clear traffic, and wouldn’t be expecting traffic from his right.

    I’m curious what speed the cyclists were going and whether that direction had a green signal.

  • Mnorri
    January 26, 2011 - 11:22 pm | Permalink

    One of the rare times when a car driver is cited in a bicycle-car incident….

  • MikeOnBike
    January 26, 2011 - 11:24 pm | Permalink

    Also, looking at the street view, the building and the “Alta Court” sign would have blocked the bike cops and motorist from seeing each other until the last moment.

  • Jack
    January 27, 2011 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

    I have seen a number of times police cycling together enjoying a conversation while riding on the wrong side of the road. “Exemptions we don’t need no f**kin’ exemptions, we are the law”.

  • January 27, 2011 - 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Well, in Denver, the exemption for uniformed local, state and Federal
    officials is written into the city code. I can see how patrolling on the
    sidewalk can be handy.

    Sent from my Googaw

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  • February 17, 2011 - 6:59 pm | Permalink

    This shows us two things:
    1) Cops will ticket drivers if THEY are the ones being hit.
    2) Legal or not, salmoning and sidewalk riding is dangerous.

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