Cyclists demand safety improvements after deadly Thornton crash

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THORNTON, Colo. — A day after an SUV struck and killed a bicyclist in a crosswalk in Thornton, the community is asking why there are not more warnings in place for drivers.

The cyclist was on the Platte River Trail, crossing McKay Road, when he was struck by an SUV Saturday night.

It happened in the 9800 block of McKay Road.

FOX31 spoke with one biker on Sunday who said she and her husband won’t even use the crosswalk anymore.

“It’s extremely dangerous,” said Commerce City resident Laura Backman. “We’re not crossing here anymore.”

Even with a yield sign, Backman says the crosswalk isn’t safe.

“Sometimes, we have tried to go when they slow down, and then they’ll speed up the other way,” she said.

“When I first got here, I was looking both ways. There were cars coming and nobody stopped,” said cyclist Chris Rainy about the crosswalk.

The Thornton Police Department is still investigating the fatal crash and hasn’t yet released details on who was at fault.

The old trail (Platte Trail) ran through city limits, and was managed by the city of Thornton. They had safety equipment set up at that crosswalk.

When it was flooded and rebuilt, it was placed just outside city limits–which puts it in Adams County territory.

Despite this, the Thornton Police Department is leading the investigation on the cyclist who was killed in the crosswalk, while using that trail.

The city of Thornton has reached out to Adams county, offering up their safety equipment that was used at the previous crosswalk–which is currently sitting in storage.

The section of the trail where the crash happened and the crosswalk are relatively new.

“It used to be a half mile up the road,” said Rainy. “You used to be able to cross over there with some [flashing] lights.”

Rainy says pedestrians and cyclists could push a button to indicate they were trying to cross, and lights would start flashing on the yield sign.

After that part of the trail flooded, it was rebuilt — but without a flashing yield sign.

Bikers say that needs to change before tragedy strikes again at that same spot.

“I believe the flashing lights were way more effective. People were able to see them, they paid attention,” said Backman.

“I drive in Boulder all the time and they’ve got yield lights just for pedestrians to get across the road, and everyone stops,” Rainy told FOX31.

In the meantime, both drivers and bikers are encouraged to stay alert and take extra precautions near the crosswalk, which, by state law, requires all drivers to yield to pedestrians.

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