By Allen Cowgill
Two people on bicycles were recently killed by motorists in North Denver. Both crashes happened on Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) roads that continue to be the deadliest in this part of town. The recent deaths were two of the 82 people that were killed in crashes in Denver in 2022.
The number of deaths is close to 2021’s recent record of 84 deaths. Both Federal and Sheridan boulevards are on Denver’s High Injury Network, or the 5% of streets that account for 50% of fatal crashes. Based on previous reporting in The Denver North Star, advocacy groups like the Denver Streets Partnership have said both of these CDOT roads are dangerous by design because they are designed for speed and traffic volume instead of safety.
The 35 mph speed limit may have also played a role in both crashes as according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the fatality rate for pedestrians and people on bikes more than double when the speed of a car increases from 25 mph to 35 mph.
On Dec. 9, 34-year-old Logan Rocklin was crossing Sheridan Boulevard going from his home in Wheat Ridge into Denver for dinner on W. 38th Avenue when a driver going Northbound ran a red light and fatally struck him, according to the Denver Police Department. The driver fled the scene and remains at large as of our print deadline.
Rockin’s sister, Andy Morris, remembers Rocklin as “a really bright and vibrant person.” “He was often the light and humor in a room,” Morris said. “He and his wife are and were very social and have a lot of friends. He was an amazing musician, a pianist, guitar player, drummer and singer. He was in a band for a while, but also an accountant, that is what his day job was.”
“He was a very entertaining person to be around and often kept us laughing at family dinners and often (was) the life of the party,” she continued. “It was often the Logan Rocklin Show. One of his teachers said that in elementary school and that continued to be the case all of his life. Just a big personality and a beautiful soul.”
Morris said that Rocklin had spent the day before he was stricken at the hospital with his wife, Hillary, who is battling leukemia and had a stem-cell treatment that day. She said that Logan enjoyed riding and often would ride his bike around the neighborhood to run errands.
She shared that witnesses that she spoke with said there were two drivers that ran the red light that night and they were going quite fast. The hit-and-run aspect of the crash has made the loss even harder for the family.
“We’re angry, we’re scared, we’re utterly devastated,” Morris said.
Her partner, Eric, has been standing on that corner every night since the 14th. He is focused on keeping attention on this.
The family is hoping a witness comes forward or that the person will turn themselves in. When asked what she would say to the driver who struck her brother, Morris said that “whoever ran that red light and struck my brother, I can imagine that they are very scared and that they may not know what to do.”
“I can acknowledge that. It’s a terrible thing, and I imagine it has ruined multiple lives, not just my family,” she said.
“It’s affecting the person that hit him and whomever they’ve told. I recognize that and I also wish that this person would come forward and be accountable for their actions. They took the life of a really beautiful human being who deserved to have justice. I recognize that’s a hard thing to ask but I wish that their conscience would bring them forward. It would give some peace to his wife, my parents, and our whole family.”
The family is also pleading for drivers to slow down, pay attention, and stop for red lights. Morris said that “no few seconds a person might save is worth taking someone’s life. Just slow down and drive with care and kindness.” Denver Police encourage anyone that has tips or knows anything about the crash to call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720- 913-STOP. Callers can remain anonymous and can receive up to a $2,000 reward. Anyone wishing to help with the GoFundMe for Rocklin’s wife can find more details at gofund.me/54ca7d9f.
On Dec. 18, Ainslie O’Neil was biking east to her family’s house for dinner down the W 35th Avenue bikeway, and a driver hit and killed her while she was crossing Federal Boulevard. As of our print deadline, Denver Police are still actively investigating the crash and have not cited the driver who did remain on the scene. O’Neil, 32, grew up on the east side of Denver, and was a Landscape Architect.
Her good friend Drew Horbein said that “she lived life at 100%.”
“She used the day to its fullest advantage and was a caring mother for her dog, a good partner, and an amazing friend that was so present,” Horbein said. “She would wake up to do so much during the day and had such a full calendar, and when she was with you afterward, she was just totally there and present with whomever she was hanging out with. She was just the best of us.”
He continued to say O’Neil worked on community housing projects and was engaged with her neighborhood. Horbein shared that O’Neil used her bike as her main transportation device.
“Ainslie biked as much as she could and it was for everything. She would commute as much as she could,” he said. “She had a little bike trailer that she put her dog in. She would commute across town.” Horbein shared that “the story of her death is that, the kid that hit her, I feel so much compassion for them. Because really it’s the infrastructure. The built environment is built so that we put cars first. And her death is this acute death, this very immediate death, but the same as people who have asthma and constantly breathing in the pollution of cars. There is something in the noise pollution, we are all being negatively affected by this choice. It is killing everyone, it’s killing the whole planet, it’s one of the major drivers of climate change, all these cars driving.”