8 places where biking in Denver is scary, according to Denver’s Vision Zero survey

A biker in Cheesman Park. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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A biker in Cheesman Park. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) bikes; transportation; cheesman park; denver; denverite; kevinjbeaty; colorado;
Only one person had a place of concern in Cheesman Park — “signal not triggered for bicycle.” (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Back in March, Denver asked people to tell them where our streets could be better as part of Vision Zero, the stated commitment to stop traffic deaths in the city. Nearly 680 areas of concern were registered by bicyclists, and here’s what they had to say about Denver’s “areas of concern”. 

Generally speaking, bicyclists’ biggest beef is blocked bike lanes. Even if you’re not a bicyclist, you may have seen one of thesestreetfails.” But people failing to yield on turns was another common concern.

As for particular problem areas, I was looking for repeated pain points. The following list reflects spots roughly .1 mile in diameter and the total number of concern areas that bicyclists mentioned.

Downing and Speer area – 5 complaints


Problems here run the gamut from blocked bike lanes, failing to yield and more, according to the bicyclists who responded.

20th and Central Street area – 5 complaints

When you’re biking away from Coors Field into the Highland area on 20th Street, this is the point at which you lose the shared wide sidewalk, and have to compete with cars. Did I mention it’s near a highway? The resounding concern here was people failing to yield on turns.

Just across up the street from here are another four complaints — if I were using a different methodology, this whole area could easily be higher on the list.

West 23rd and Clay area – 5 complaints


One survey respondent had a good overview for the issues in this area:

“Substantial conflict between cars and bicycles – bike lane disappear at the point where the hill is steepest (forces bikes into travel lane where they are going the slowest),” the person wrote.

Sure enough, if you’re travelling west along West 23rd Avenue, after you cross I-25, you’ve got sharrows, but no lane.

West 23rd and Water Street area – 5 complaints


Perhaps the proximity to I-25 has created another uneven set of expectations between bikers and drivers in this area. The most common complaint was that people fail to yield on turns.

15th and Lawrence Street – 6 complaints


It’s not quite the infamous point where the 15th Street bike lane switches from the left side of the street to the right side, but it’s pretty close. That didn’t stop respondents from noting that switching your bike lane’s side is confusing though.

38th and Blake Street – 6 complaints


Hm, go figure that people would want to bike around a light rail station. Based on the feedback from the Vision Zero survey, it sounds like that’s not easy at the moment.

“No bike facilities, poorly lit, pot holes,” wrote one respondent.

“There are no bike lanes under the bridge. Hard for vehicles to see cyclist undernead bridge during the day due to shadows. Paving under the bridge is in poor condition, hard for cyclist to avoid pot hole due to lighting,” wrote another.

12th Avenue at Speer – 9 complaints


You know how divers sometimes jump from extraordinary heights onto tiny targets? That’s sort of how I feel when I do this crossing from 12th across Speer to get to the Cherry Creek bike path. I don’t mind myself, as it’s generally the closest I get to any sort of athletic feats, but I could see why it would be distressing.

Complaints here included “no crosswalk” and “difficult crossing on a bike.”

Wynkoop bike lane near 17th street – 11 complaints


Blocked bike lanes were the overwhelming beef in this area. Even Denverite’s own Erica Meltzer has parked in the bike lane in front of Union Station. By the way, she made a map of where you’re supposed to park when you’re picking someone up from Union Station.

And here’s a look at the rest of the city: