Street racing on the rise in Denver as police push to provide safer alternatives – CBS Denver
DENVER (CBS4) – Denver Police are cracking down on street racing in the city. Over the weekend, a driver died after losing control while speeding and crashing into a tree near Sloan’s Lake. DPD says street racing may have been a factor.
“It’s a very dangerous activity,” said DPD Division Patrol Leader Ron Thomas. “Where we see this primarily is on the highways and then on open stretches of road.”
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Thomas says lighter traffic during the pandemic amplified the problem. In 2020, more than 100 people were arrested for illegal street racing. Last summer, Denver police restricted lanes around Federal Boulevard to combat the problem in the area.
Now runners are finding other areas of the city to gain a foothold.
“Some of the road closures we have made for safety reasons, like around Federal Boulevard for example, have caused people to look elsewhere to navigate and do trail races,” Thomas said. “Certainly the pandemic has prevented people from doing some things, the bars are closed, some other activities have been closed, so that’s what filled that void for a lot of people.”
Street racing last month brought traffic to a complete stop on I-225 in Aurora. Earlier this month, pedestrian Jessica Allen was killed in a car race near 18th and Lawrence in downtown Denver.
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“Usually it’s something we deal with during the summer months, and this year we’ve started to see it a lot earlier in the season than we’ve typically seen it,” Thomas said.
Residents can report illegal street racing online. They can also call (720) 913-2000.
Dozens of law enforcement agencies are working together to curb illegal sport.
“We are generally aware of when these activities occur, and so certainly, we make sure that our helicopters are available to provide the cover from above, and we have dedicated agents in each district to be responsible for responding to the cruise and street events all over town, ”Thomas said.
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DPD is working with the Colorado State Patrol to encourage safer alternatives to street racing with events like “Take it to the Track” at Bandimere Speedway. It happens every Wednesday and allows the riders to race in a safe and controlled environment.