DENVER – The Denver and Front Range community of cyclists are hosting two events this week, on Wednesday and Friday, to highlight the recent deaths of two cyclists in Denver and demand better conditions on the city’s streets.
The groups will honor Scott Hendrickson, 60, and Alexis Bounds, 37, who were both killed this month by drivers while they were riding their bikes in Denver.
Hendrickson was the first cycling death of 2019 in Denver. He was a cycling advocate and was well-known within the tight-knit community. Police say a man driving a minivan hit Hendrickson in the intersection of W. Bayaud Ave. and S. Tejon St. Hendrickson died at a hospital the next day.
"Here’s a guy who has been on a bike his whole life, loves bikes, knows how to ride bikes, knows how to deal with all kinds of traffic situations and it’s sad that he’s one of the ones that gets killed by a car," said Brad Evans, a friend of Hendrickson’s.
Bounds, a young mother of two who was back on a bike for the first time in months after the birth of her second child, was killed while riding in a bike laneon South Marion St. near Washington Park when a dump truck turned into the lane and hit and dragged her, police said.
At the scene of that crash, a cycling advocate wrote, “Another slain bicyclist,” and in another spot, “Stop killing us,” on the pavement.
The cyclists’ deaths have reinvigorated a seemingly never-ending battle between cyclists who feel the city is not doing enough to protect them and drivers who say cyclists take too many liberties in Denver.
The Denver Cruiser Ride has dedicated Wednesday’s monthly ride to Hendrickson and Bounds and is hosting a vigil to honor Bounds Wednesday night after the ride.
In a Facebook post, the group discussed what it feels is a lack of attention on creating a cycling-friendly environment in Denver.
“We've spent the better part of the last decade (and then some) advocating, being involved and demanding action. I've been quoted in the press, where I've stated ‘Denver is a scary place to ride bikes.’ Unfortunately, it's fallen on deaf ears at City Hall,” an administrator wrote. “The messy, but fun Denver Cruiser Ride has introduced 1000s of people to riding bikes in the city, and it's become a touch point for pointing out missing infrastructure, what the rules of the road are, and today, it's a call to action to each of us to tune into the lives that have been lost.”
The group plans to have white-painted ghost bikes on hand for both victims.
Wednesday’s Denver Cruiser Ride starts at 7 p.m. at The Ginn Mill at 20th and Larimer. The cruise will go by the vigil at S. Marion Pkwy. And E. Bayaud St., which begins at 9:30 p.m.
And on Friday, Denver Critical Mass plans to host a ride starting at the Denver Skate Park starting around 7 p.m. The subject of the permit-free ride on public streets is titled: “No more deaths!”
The organizations putting together Wednesday’s vigil says 47 people, including Hendrickson and Bounds and 15 walking pedestrians, have been killed in traffic crashes so far this year in Denver. And other people have been severely hurt or killed this month in other Front Range cities.
Edward “Chuck” Vogel was killed in Parker on the morning of July 4 by a driver who left the scene. And investigators are trying to find a van believed to have hit cyclist Andrew “Bernie” Bernstein on Highway 7 on July 20, leaving him critically injured.
In 2018, six cyclists were killed in Denver – the highest amount since 2013, according to our partners at The Denver Post. The city has plans to create 125 more miles of on-street bike planes in Denver over the next five years.
In addition to Wednesday’s vigil for Bounds, there is a GoFundMe page to raise money for her husband and young children. Supporters had already raised more than $30,000 of the $10,000 goal as of Wednesday afternoon.
Denver7 plans to attend Wednesday’s events and will have more on Wednesday night.