The League of American Bicyclists has recognized Colorado for its bicycle-friendliness. Lakewood was one of 23 cities in the state to earn an award from the organization for its efforts to expand bicycle access and infrastructure.

Bicycle accidents still happen in the city despite the city’s relative safety. Lakewood drivers collide with dozens of bicyclists annually, leading to injuries and fatalities. Understanding where, when, and how these crashes happen can help you safely navigate the city’s roads.

Lakewood Bicycle Accident Statistics

According to the Colorado Crash Data Dashboard, Lakewood drivers collided with 106 non-motorists in 2022. 

These numbers included:

  • 38 cyclists
  • 68 pedestrians

For context, Lakewood had 2,937 total traffic accidents that year. This means bicycle collisions only made up 1.3% of the city’s crashes involving bicycles.

The 38 bicycle crashes fall well below Lakewood’s five-year average. According to the numbers reported to the League of American Bicyclists, the city averaged more than 45 bicycle collisions annually over the five years between 2018 and 2022.

Injuries and Deaths Resulting from Lakewood Bike Accidents

Zero cyclists died in bicycle collisions in 2022. Over the past ten years, Lakewood has only had four bicycle fatalities, the most recent occurring in 2021.

Collisions between motor vehicles and bicycles in 2022 caused:

  • Two serious injuries that required ambulance transportation from the accident scene
  • 19 minor visible injuries that did not incapacitate the victim
  • 12 complaints of pain or other symptoms without any visible injuries
  • No apparent injuries in three cyclists
  • Unknown injuries to two cyclists

From these numbers, you can calculate that bicycle accidents in Lakewood in 2022 had a 91.7% injury rate. In other words, only 8.3% of cyclists injured in bike accidents that year walked away from their collisions without injury.

Incredibly, none of the 38 cyclists hit by cars were wearing helmets. Wearing a helmet significantly improves your outcomes in a collision. Studies show that cyclists who wear helmets reduce their risk of death or serious injury by up to 34%.

Dangerous Times To Ride in Lakewood, CO

The Colorado Crash Data Dashboard does not include data about when bicycle crashes happen in Lakewood. But it does include timing data for all traffic crashes in the city. From this information, you can infer when bicycle crashes occurred in 2022.

The most dangerous time on Lakewood’s roads happened on weekdays during the afternoon commute. Crashes increased between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. each weekday before dropping off in the evening. Over 20% of all vehicle crashes in Lakewood happen during the afternoon rush hour. You can infer that bicycle commuters experience the same peak in traffic congestion and collisions.

Nearly half of bike collisions in Lakewood happen in the summer. The city has good weather for recreational cycling during these months. And children tend to cycle more during the summer when they are not in school.

According to the Colorado Crash Data Dashboard, the second-most dangerous season for cyclists is fall. Poor weather conditions and less daylight probably account for at least some of those autumn crashes.

Causes of Bicycle Accidents

The cyclist bore the blame in 18 of the 38 bicycle collisions in Lakewood in 2022. The most common action by the cyclist in causing a crash was disobeying a stop sign or traffic signal. This statistic makes Colorado’s adoption of the “Idaho stop” in 2022 somewhat unusual. 

As the name suggests, the Idaho stop was invented in Idaho and modifies traffic laws in two ways for cyclists:

  • Stop signs become yield signs, allowing cyclists to proceed without stopping if the way is clear
  • Stop lights become stop signs, allowing them to proceed after stopping if the way is clear

Given that the seven cyclists caused collisions due to exactly these actions, enshrining the Idaho stop into Colorado law might end up increasing the number of bike crashes.

Common driver behaviors that can lead to collisions with bicycles include:

  • Maneuvering without proper surveillance
  • Distracted driving
  • Failing to leave enough space when overtaking a bicycle

Of these, the most common is improper surveillance. This violation often takes the form of “looked but did not see,” in which the driver failed to spot the cyclist due to a cognitive bias rather than a view obstruction or distraction.

Crash Locations in Lakewood, Colorado

The Denver Regional Council of Governments has published a high-injury network map showing the roads where pedestrian, bicycle, and car accidents tend to cluster. 

Some of the roads in Lakewood identified by the map include:

  • Kipling St./Kipling Pkwy.
  • 6th Ave. east of Sheridan Blvd.
  • Mississippi Ave. between Wadsworth Blvd. and Sheridan Blvd.
  • Jewell Ave. east of Kipling Pkwy.
  • Alameda Pkwy west of Wadsworth Blvd.

Bicycle accidents tend to cluster in places with inadequate crossings for cyclists and pedestrians. They also happen on roads with heavy traffic and fast speed limits. Cities can address some safety issues, such as unsafe passing, with bicycle infrastructure to buffer bicycles from motor vehicle traffic.

Lakewood Bicycle Infrastructure

Lakewood has an extensive bikeway network, including:

  • Multi-use trails, such as those running along Rooney Rd. and Kipling Pkwy.
  • Bike lanes along Mississippi Ave., Florida Ave., and Garrison Blvd.
  • Soft surface trails in most city and state parks

According to the city’s bicycle plan, it has over 250 miles of bikeways and 12 over or underpasses for non-motorized traffic. The plan sets out a path for adding another 64 miles of bikeways in the foreseeable future.

Additionally, RTD trains and buses permit bicycles on board without paying any additional fare. These public transportation options allow you to expand the range where you can use your bicycle in the Denver metro area.

Riding Lakewood Roads and Trails Safely

Lakewood crashes tend to follow a predictable pattern. You can reduce your crash risk by exercising caution at intersections and planning a route with bike lanes and trails to protect you from motor vehicles. You should also wear a helmet to reduce your risk of serious or fatal injury during a crash.

Lakewood has safe drivers and extensive infrastructure. Riding carefully will enable you to safely navigate Lakewood’s roads.