Denver’s bid to stimulate revenue growth veers down the bike path
Colorado has a reputation for being a bike-friendly state boasting a litany of festivals and events especially for cyclists. But Denver, the state’s largest city, has taken its relationship with the cycling community from lukewarm, at best, to increasingly hostile. The League of American Bicyclists, an umbrella advocacy group for cyclists, had Colorado listed among the top ten biker-friendly places since 2011. One would be forgiven to assume that Denver had a large part to play in that.
Speed limits in parks and bike paths, by themselves, are not a new phenomenon. That speed limit is currently capped at 15 miles per hour. Rangers have frequently clocked people well over that limit using radar speed guns. The steep fine of $100 on first offense will increase for repeat offenders with possible eviction from the park – a development bound to strain the City’s relationship with its cyclists even more.
“We suggest people get a speedometer, this way you know how fast you’re going,” says Jodie Ehrich, Denver Park Ranger. “There are a lot of apps that you can download for free or you can go buy one, all tools to make sure you are recreating safely in the park.”
“Denver is a paradise for cyclists! The Mile High City boasts more than 85 miles of paved trails that connect to hundreds of additional miles of dirt trails, offering mountain bike adventures. These trails also connect riders to dozens of notable attractions, including the shopping mecca of Cherry Creek and Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre.”Excerpt from the website of Visit Denver initiative – It describes itself as a private, non-profit trade association contracted by City & County of Denver. The association says it is funded from both private and public sources.
The taxpayer has witnessed the continual bickering between Department of Public Works (DPW) and City Council over management and restoration of that very same infrastructure. DPW and the Denver Police continue to pass the buck when it comes to protection and enforcement.
How the residents of Mile High City, who rely on public-funded bike exchange programs and bike paths for their commute to work as well as recreation, come to terms with the minimum of $100 fine along with the threat of being evicted from parks may set the tone for towns across America contemplating innovative revenue generation tactics that, arguably, prey on its own citizens.