Bicyclist Claims Denver Police Department Motorcycles Drove Dangerously Close
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)- The recent deaths of Coloradans killed on bicycles made one cyclist's experience with law enforcement especially disappointing Wednesday. Jim Pelkie rides his bike on Lookout Mountain every week.
The experienced cyclist knows he must stay vigilant on the steep, narrow roads, but he never expected Denver police officers to be the threat.
"Police couldn't give me the respect of safety and the minimum safe distance. If the police can't do it, how can we expect other people to do it?" said Pelkie.
Pelkie installed cameras on his bike after a motorist ran him off the road five years ago. He has since recovered from serious injuries.
Footage from his bicycle cameras show several Denver police officers on motorcycles passing him on Lookout Mountain. Pelkie says they were riding dangerously close to his bike.
"Every time one of them went by me, I got angrier and angrier. If they had gone from 2-by-2 to single file as they passed me, it would have been plenty of room. I would have been happy with it. It would have been safe for everybody," said Pelkie. "A less experienced person may have panicked and swerved. But out there, there's nowhere to swerve."
According to Colorado Bike Law: "The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicyclist proceeding in the same direction shall allow the bicyclist at least a three-foot separation between the right side of the driver's vehicle, including all mirrors or other projections, and the left side of the bicyclist at all times."
Colorado Department of Transportation says motorists won't be faulted for breaking a common traffic rule to share the road with cyclists.
"Even three feet feels a little bit close. You're allowed to actually move over to the middle of the road to pass cyclists and you will not be faulted for doing it. Going over the double yellow line to pass a bicyclist is actually allowed in Colorado," said Sam Cole, Traffic Safety Communications Manager for CDOT.
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, there were two bicycle-related fatalities in the state between January and April 2021. In just the last week, three Coloradans were killed while riding bikes.
"It shocked me that the police would go by that close and disregard my safety. I know that if they were on the highway along with somebody's car, writing a ticket or something, they wouldn't stand for somebody passing that close," said Pelkie.
Pelkie filed a complaint with DPD on Thursday, the day after the incident.
CBS4 reached out to Denver Police on Friday. DPD told CBS4's Tori Mason: "We did receive the complaint and it is in the early stages. It would not be appropriate to comment at this time until the investigation concludes."
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