New Traffic Laws Improve Safety

Wheat Ridge Mayor Bud Starker
Wheat Ridge Mayor Bud Starker

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Over the past year, traffic safety statistics for the city of Wheat Ridge have shown an increase in crashes involving pedestrians that resulted in serious injuries. Tragically, along roadways with a higher volume of cars or that have higher speed limits like Kipling and Wadsworth, people have died as a result of being in the roadway. At its June 14 meeting, city council passed two new ordinances to limit access to medians and other areas not designed for pedestrians to help increase safety for both motorists and pedestrians.

In the next few weeks, signage will be added at key roadway locations within the city to notify pedestrians of the new ordinances. Prior to issuing any citations, Wheat Ridge Police Department patrol and crime prevention officers will begin educational efforts about the new regulations with pedestrians in high-risk areas like Kipling and I-70 and along Wadsworth Boulevard. The city will also share information about the ordinances through local media, social media platforms, city newsletters and on the website. Anyone with concerns about traffic or pedestrian safety is asked to call the WRPD non-emergency number, 303-237-2220, #1.

Pedestrians Hindering the Flow of Traffic (Read Ordinance 1714), effective immediately, provides Wheat Ridge police officers with an enforcement tool to maintain separation between motorists and pedestrians, thereby reducing motorist and pedestrian crashes and improving overall traffic safety. The ordinance is intended to reduce crashes by regulating pedestrian behaviors that interfere with traffic, including entering the roadway in a way that obstructs or hinders traffic flow, and soliciting in areas that are unsafe. The safety of pedestrians will be increased by maximizing the distance between the roadway and pedestrians.

Pedestrian Use of Roadway Center Medians and Prohibiting Sales and Solicitation in Certain Places (Read Ordinance 1715), effective immediately, is intended to reduce motorist and pedestrian crashes by regulating center medians that are unsafe for occupation by pedestrians. The primary purpose of a roadway center median is to enhance safety and ensure the free flow of traffic on roadways by separating opposing lanes of vehicular traffic, channeling traffic for turning purposes, and, within designated areas, to provide a temporary refuge for pedestrians crossing busy or wide roadways. An individual who occupies or uses a roadway center median area which is not designed or suitable for pedestrian use creates a safety hazard for both the pedestrian and traffic in the adjacent roadway.

Pedestrians using entrance and exit ramps along Interstate highways for sales or solicitations with passing motorists pose a special safety hazard where no safe pull-out or parking areas exist, and also create a distraction for passing motorists which can startle drivers and inhibit the free flow of traffic. Alternative means and locations for sales and solicitations are available elsewhere throughout the city and prohibiting these activities along certain highways will directly increase the safety of the public. Please stay safe and enjoy the summer!

Contact Wheat Ridge Mayor Bud Starker at 303-235-2800 or bstarker@ci.wheatridge.co.us.

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