Denver leaders' plan to slow the city's climbing number of auto-pedestrian crashes starts with billboards but could lead to more tickets and costly traffic engineering.
Mayor Michael Hancock unveiled the Heads Up billboard and safety marketing campaign Wednesday, joined by city officials and the mothers of children hurt or killed in hit-and-run crashes.
If people won't pay attention, however, police might give them a reminder in the form of a ticket.
"We're in the process of doing an analysis of where accidents occur as it relates to vehicle accidents, as it relates to cyclists, as it relates to pedestrians, and we're going to put some extra resources into these locations," Police Chief Robert White said.
The mayor and police chief were joined by the mothers of children who were the victims of hit-and-run drivers. Ariana McLaughlin's 16-year-old daughter, Deyondrah Bridgeman, was hit crossing the street in front of East High School on Feb. 27.
Deyondrah remains hospitalized.
Zama Bee Khan sat in a wheelchair, her left leg in a brace. She was injured by a hit-and-run driver while crossing East 14th Avenue at Yosemite Street on March 22. Her sons, 8-year-old Za May Khan and 6-year-old Ah Zet Khan were killed. The driver has not been caught.
Hit-and-run cases in Denver are up 55 percent over each of the previous four years, The Denver Post reported on April 28. The city has seen a sharp increase in auto-pedestrian collisions this year — up 26.5 percent from Jan. 1 to April 24 this year compared with the same period a year ago. Crashes involving cyclists also are up: from 239 in 2011 to 265 in 2012.
Joey Bunch: 303-954-1174, email@example.com or twitter.com/joeybunch