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CO advocates urge US lawmakers to pass road safety package to protect cyclists


A group of Colorado advocates are in Washington, D.C. urging lawmakers to pass a package of road safety bills to protect cyclists.

More than 170 families from 36 states, including Colorado, are participating in the 2024 Roadway Safety Advocacy Days, which began Monday and will end Wednesday.

For cyclist Dan Perkins, the effort is personal. His twin brother, Steve Perkins, was struck and killed by a driver on a Denver roadway nearly two years ago.

“We used to ride our bicycles together probably four or five times a week,” said Dan.

Their favorite activity ended in tragedy on August 10, 2022.

“Fifteen minutes after we separated, he was going through an intersection at 13th and Syracuse and was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver who ran a red light,” said Dan.

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CDOT reports 133 pedestrians killed in Colorado in 2023 — 16 percent increase from 2022.Twenty bicyclists were killed in 2023 — a 33 percent increase from 2022.

“It’s a crisis. We know how to fix it,” said Triny Willerton, a road safety advocate and founder of the nonprofit It Could Be Me.

Willerton founded her nonprofit after she was struck by a driver and seriously injured while cycling in 2018.

Dan and Willerton are one of several Coloradans who are addressing lawmakers in Washington, D.C. Along with a package of bills, they’re asking lawmakers to implement the Safe Systems Approach.

“All of the Safe Systems Approach is based on the basic principle that humans will make mistakes,” she said. “And so we have to have a system that protects us.”

Approaches include:

  • Physical roadway designs (lane width, horizontal alignment) to limit free flow speeds
  • Calming treatments that induce slower speeds like speed humps and curb extensions
  • Traffic signal timing that minimizes high-speed flow
  • Traditional or automated enforcement that discourages speeding
  • Utilizing vehicle technologies like speed limiters and intelligent speed assistance

As Dan advocates for change, he does so with Steve’s life in mind.

“Steve was my best friend, aside from being my brother,” he said. “So it’s been really tough losing him.”

The driver who killed Steve has not been arrested. There is a $22,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest. Authorities are looking for a blue Ford Explorer, possibly a late 90s or early 2000s model.

Anyone with information is asked to call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867. Tipsters can remain anonymous.


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