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Cyclist Groups Push For Protected Bike Lanes In Metro Area

DENVER (CBS4)- Bicyclist advocates are pushing for permanent, protected bike lanes in the Denver metro area to cut down on crashes between the two-wheeled modes of transport and vehicles.

On Bike to Work Day on Wednesday people from the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado and BikeDenver set up a temporary bike lane with orange vertical delineation that separated the bike lane from traffic. The pole delineation was set up along Wynkoop between 15th and 16th Street in downtown Denver.

The groups designated the lane without a permit from the city but it could be a sign of things to come.

"There's basically a separation between the bikers and cars so cars can't go into the bike lane," said Alliance for Sustainable Colorado spokeswoman Anna Zawisza.

The protected lane was constructed without approval or the required permit. Cyclist advocates said they are trying to send a message.

"Increasing safety is a great way to protect everybody," said Zawisza. "Making sure that a car can't swerve off into the bike lane is just a way to make sure that safety piece is in place."

Some people believe it's not just the drivers who need to pay more attention to avoid crashes but also the cyclists themselves.

"I think it's a combination of congestion and lack of awareness," said bicyclist Rob Irwin.

"It's just paying attention, you know? It's communicating as a driver or a cyclist where you're going," said bicyclist Dan Grunig.

Not everyone is convinced that a protected bike lane is the answer.

"In the grand scheme of things, no probably not," said Irwin.

The City of Denver plans to install permanent so-called "vertical separation" bike lanes all along 15th Street over the next year.

The next phase of the project will be underway by the end of the summer.

The Department of Public Works in Denver said the city requires groups to obtain the appropriate permit before putting anything in the street or sidewalk. The city requested the groups remove the paint and signs constructed for the bike lane for Bike to Work Day by the end of the work day.

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