Denver Scooter Rider Death in Highland Neighborhood Is City's First

An image from a promotional video by Lime, one of the main marketers of rental scooters in Denver.
An image from a promotional video by Lime, one of the main marketers of rental scooters in Denver. Lime via YouTube
Editor's note: For an update on this incident, click to read "Disputed Fault in Death of Cameron Hagan, Denver's First Scooter Casualty." Continue for our previous coverage.

Earlier today, August 12, the Denver Police Department confirmed the death of a scooter rider after an accident in the Highland neighborhood on August 4. The passing of the thus-far-unidentified individual, which actually took place on August 9 but is only now being publicly shared, appears to be the first for a scooter rider in Denver, where the popular rental vehicles have become increasingly controversial.

At 8:44 p.m. on August 4, the DPD tweeted: "ALERT!!! District One officers are working a vehicle/scooter crash in the 2800 Blk W 32nd Ave. W 32nd Ave is closed between Federal Blvd and Clay St. Rider from the scooter was transported to the hospital with serious bodily injuries."

Then, at 9:26 a.m. today, the department offered this update: "The victim in this incident has been pronounced deceased. No one is being charged in this traffic crash."

The lack of charges speaks to the complications with which law enforcement has had to deal since the introduction of the scooters in Denver last year. In October 2018, for example, we revealed that riding the scooters on streets was illegal because the City of Denver technically defined them as toys.

However, complaints about scooters zooming along sidewalks inspired the Denver City Council to conceive a fix that council member Paul Kashmann described to us in a December 2018 post as such: "We're putting them in bike lanes where there are bike lanes, at a speed limit of fifteen miles per hour. If there's no bike lane, they can go on the right side of streets as long as the speed limit is thirty miles per hour or lower. And if the speed limit on the street is greater than thirty miles per hour, they can go on a sidewalk, but they'll be limited to six miles per hour."

These regulations didn't fix all problems related to scooters, according to Denver Public Works, which recently called for new rules banning scooter riders from sidewalks entirely. A recent comment post about this request was led by this unfortunately prescient observation from a reader named Jesse: "Should ban the stupid danger traps in general; it’s just a matter of time before someone dies on one."
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts