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The ten worst Colorado bike collisions of 2012

In 2012, a lot more people rode their bikes in Denver and throughout the state -- which led to an overall jump in the number of crashes. But a more ominous trend, perhaps, was the growing tension on the road between cars and cyclists, resulting in a steady stream of high-profile collisions....some cultural, some physical. Here, we take a look back at the worst of them -- the bizarre, the unimaginable and in two cases, the very tragic ones.10. Doug Linkhart's crash on Bike To Work Day

Doug Linkhart
Doug Linkhart

It's supposed to be a celebratory day for cyclists in Denver, but Doug Linkhart, a former Denver City Council member, did not make it to the party. That's because Linkhart, currently the manager of the city's Department of Environmental Health, was sent flying off his bike on 23rd Avenue at Downing Street, after a pickup truck went to make a left turn and collided with him on his way to Bike To Work Day. The driver was not particularly apologetic to Linkhart, who went to the hospital instead of the mayor's celebratory event. The accident sparked a bike-safety debate at a subsequent Denver City Council meeting.

9. Bike crash, stripper

Justin Jay makes our top ten list not because he or anyone else in this accident was very badly injured -- but because he made quite a spectacle after his collision . A nude spectacle, that is. At around 5:47 p.m. on a Wednesday in June, Denver police received a report about a crash involving a bicycle and a scooter on Irving Street near the 35th Avenue intersection. Jay, 30, was not pleased with the crash or the attention he received from bystanders. He then reportedly tried to assault the woman who had been on the scooter, as well as other onlookers. Apparently not satisfied with the scene he was causing, he started throwing whatever he could find at cars. And then removed his clothes. 8. Fort Collins hit and run

Dave Dornan.
Dave Dornan.
Courtesy of Dave Dornan

After running a red light and slamming into a cyclist, it's a good idea to stay on the scene and make sure the bike rider, who did not break any laws but was still sent flying to the ground, is doing all right. Instead, earlier this month the driver of a Ford Explorer in Fort Collins decided to speed away. Cyclist Dave Dornan, 62, told us after the crash that he could barely remember the collision or the immediate aftermath. Fortunately, there were several witnesses who saw the driver speed through the red light; unfortunately, they did not catch a glimpse of his license plate -- but police officials confirm that the driver was in the wrong. Dornan is recovering and wants to get back on his bike soon.

Continue for more of the worst bike crashes of 2012.

 

7. Both cyclist and driver cited in Boulder crash

Screenshot of the intersection.
Screenshot of the intersection.
Google Maps

In a November bike-vehicle crash in Boulder, both parties stayed on the scene. And both were cited by law enforcement officials. In this case, the cyclist, who was badly injured, turned into a crosswalk, but did not activate the flashing LED crosswalk signal. He then passed in front of a stopped Chevy van, but a Chrysler passed by that van and entered the crosswalk at full speed. The cyclist was struck, rolled onto the hood of the car and hit the windshield -- and then was reportedly carried 82 feet. The cyclist was issued a summons for "Pedestrian Disregarded Traffic Control Signal," and the driver was issued a summons for "Careless Driving Caused Bodily Injury." 6. The knife-wielding cyclist

Mugshot of Taylor Rose, 21.
Mugshot of Taylor Rose, 21.

There was no actual crash in this incident -- but this bizarre case did involve a cultural collision of booze, a methadone clinic and a knife. On a Tuesday morning in September, Taylor Rose, 21, was riding his bike in Boulder and allegedly swerved in front of a truck driver, just barely missing him. The driver asked, "What the fuck's wrong with you?" Rose, who apparently reeked of alcohol, replied, "What the fuck's wrong with you?" But the fracas did not stop with routine road cussing. Instead, Rose reportedly leaned close to the driver, let out a yell, then stepped back and pulled a knife from his pants pocket, waving at the driver. The cyclist then rode off to a methadone clinic, and was subsequently arrested for felony menacing and riding under the influence.

5. South Platte Trail trap

While there's a lot of tension on the road between cyclists and drivers, the bike-only trails of Denver are not entirely safe from bizarre rage against cyclists. In October, a barbed wire trap on a trail in South Platte Park threw a woman off her bike in a mishap that left her injured and damaged her bike. Given that there were lots of cyclists out on this Sunday, it is likely that the trap was put in place pretty shortly before she hit the wire. If the path had been more crowded at the time, the situation could have been a lot worse.

Continue for more of the worst bike crashes of 2012.

 

4. Herbert Hoover's grandson

The scene of the accident in Deer Creek Canyon
The scene of the accident in Deer Creek Canyon
Courtesy of Byron Nix

This bike-vehicle crash in Deer Creek Canyon stands out for a variety of reasons -- most noticeably, perhaps, because the driver just so happens to be the grandson of President Herbert Hoover. But even if this Hoover were not tied to one of our nation's former commanders, it would still make our list -- and close to the top as one of the worst of the year. That's because Hoover allegedly honked and yelled at a group of cyclists out for a ride on a Sunday before he apparently got so fed up that he sped forward, knocking Byron Nix off his bike. Hoover's car crushed the bike and just narrowly missed pulling the cyclist under as well. In our post on the story, we got detailed accounts from both the cyclist and the driver.

3. The nonstop honker

This case thankfully did not involve a physical collision, but it is at the top of our list because it got attention across Colorado and in cycling communities, thanks to the video shot by cyclist Dirk Friel that clearly captures the unexplainable honking of James Ernst , who was driving an SUV in Longmont on an empty road on a Sunday morning. For some reason, Ernst decided that he would not pass two cyclists legally riding single file and very much as far right as they could be -- but instead drove slowly behind them and honked incessantly. For many minutes. Ernst was cited after the video went viral and he eventually pleaded not guilty to several charges related to aggressive driving and harassment .

Continue for more of the worst bike crashes of 2012.

 

2. Gelseigh Karl-Cannon

Gelseigh Karl-Cannon
Gelseigh Karl-Cannon

Sometimes the consequences of these crashes can be incredibly devastating. Such was the case with Gelseigh Karl-Cannon, 23 and a recent graduate of Columbia University in New York City, who was hit by a truck in Denver near the intersection of First Avenue and Clayton Street. She was rushed to a nearby hospital, but was pronounced dead when she failed to respond to treatment. The death was ruled accidental. Read more about her life in our post on the accident. 1. Dan Peterson

Dan Peterson
Dan Peterson

It was the crash that got the attention of Denver officials and was central to our cover story, "On a Roll," which took a close look at the rise of cycling in Denver. Thirty-year-old Dan Peterson died after a late-night collision, in which a car hit him at the intersection of Lincoln and Speer. The car drove off -- but not before its two occupants picked up the bike and threw it in their vehicle, leaving Peterson alone in the middle of the road. He died later that day. Many in Denver became aware of the fatality through a ghost bike memorial that appeared at the intersection, put up by an anonymous group of cyclists who didn't personally know Peterson. Read more about him in an obituary post we wrote in October.

More from our Lists & Weirdness archive: "Photos: Top ten White Elephant gifts of 2012"

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at Sam.Levin@Westword.com.


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