Crime

Bike safety: Driver and badly injured cyclist both cited in Boulder crash

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Since we published our feature, "On a Roll," about the growth of cycling in Denver and the potentially devastating consequences, there have been a string of high-profile accidents that involved cyclists, including the tragic death last week of Gelseigh Karl-Cannon and the alleged road rage incident in Deer Creek Canyon, during which a driver's attempt to pass a group of cyclists went very wrong.

In addition, a car hit a cyclist riding in a crosswalk in Boulder on November 5. The accident report from the Boulder Police Department reveals a confusing collision where both the cyclist and the driver appeared to make mistakes, earning them summons.

Just after 9:30 a.m., the cyclist, Alfred Christansen III, 23, was approaching the intersection of Spruce Street and 28th Street from the sidewalk, the report says. At the same time, 73-year-old Richard Chrappa, driving a 2005 Chrysler Sebring, also approached the crosswalk, just north of Spruce Street.

The cyclist turned into the crosswalk, but did not activate the flashing LED crosswalk signal. He then passed in front of a stopped Chevy van, according to witnesses, but the Chrysler driven by Chrappa passed that van and entered the crosswalk at full speed. The cyclist was struck in the crosswalk, rolled onto the hood of the car and hit the windshield. The car then allegedly carried the cyclist 82 feet before the driver was able to stop, at which point the cyclist rolled off the hood and fell onto the pavement on a center concrete median. Medics arrived and rushed Christiansen, who suffered serious injuries in the collision, to the hospital.

On the scene, Chrappa stated that he never saw the cyclist, because his view was blocked by the stopped Chevy van -- and he said the crosswalk lights were not flashing as he approached. Asked how fast he was driving, he said, "Whatever the limit is," according to the police report.

The vehicle, with a shattered windshield, was towed from the scene.

At the hospital, the cyclist was wearing a neck brace as he lay in the emergency room bed when police interviewed him. Asked if he had activated the crosswalk signal before entering, he replied, "I didn't."

A scan found that he had broken a vertebrae and suffered a large laceration to the top of his head. He also had a fractured foot. He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.

Christansen was issued a summons for "Pedestrian Disregarded Traffic Control Signal."

And Chrappa was ultimately issued a summons for "Careless Driving Caused Bodily Injury."

Continue for more details from the police report.

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Sam Levin
Contact: Sam Levin