Schools are places to learn and grow, but in recent years, they have also become places prone to violence, harassment, and danger. Safety concerns around surrounding school zones have also increased amid growing concerns for teacher and student safety in the classrooms. 

To help highlight the dangers of high-fatality school zones and draw attention to the need for actionable reform, Denver safety experts at The Fang Law Firm worked in conjunction with data visualization company 1point21Interactive to create a comprehensive study to find the 50 most dangerous school zones in Denver. The interactive study has analyzed over seven years of traffic fatality and injury data in Denver, Colorado to isolate the most dangerous school zones for the community.

Top 10 Most Dangerous School Zones

The firm found the total crashes that occurred within a quarter-mile of a school during reasonable hours of pedestrian and cyclists presence and calculated a student risk index (SRI) in order to rank the most dangerous school zones. The top ten most dangerous school zones are the following: 

  1. 5280 High School – SRI 114.86
  2. Riseup Community School – SRI 103.22
  3. Emily Griffith High School – SRI 102.61
  4. Downtown Denver Expeditionary School – SRI 102.61
  5. University Prep – Arapahoe St. – SRI 97.92
  6. Morey Middle School – SRI 95.64
  7. Contemporary Learning Academy – SRI 83.73
  8. Warren Village Inc – SRI 73.03
  9. Sewall Child Development Center – SRI 70.44
  10. Colonnade Children’s Center – SRI 62.93

Who is Most at Risk?

Denver’s public school system has over 79,423 students. Approximately 19,470 students are currently enrolled in private schools in Denver. With nearly 100,000 students in total in addition to school faculty and staff, tens of thousands of lives are at risk of being victims in school zone crashes. 

Pedestrians and cyclists are both at risk of injury or death in dangerous school zones. The data used in the study found that nearly 1,487 pedestrians were injured or killed and 948 bicyclists were injured or killed within a quarter-mile of a school in a seven year period.

How Does this Data Relate to Vision Zero?

Whether cities have outwardly expressed their desire to meet Vision Zero or not, almost every city has the goal of having zero traffic-related deaths. Denver has committed to it’s own Vision Zero plan, aiming to have zero traffic-related deaths in ten years, by year 2030. 

Interestingly, 5% of Denver’s city streets are responsible for 50% of all the traffic fatalities in Denver, proving the need for actionable reform to limit, and hopefully eradicate, traffic-related injuries and death. 

What Can You Do to Enhance School Zone Safety?

In addition to becoming aware of the heightened risk of traffic-related injuries and deaths in school zones, there are easy steps everyone can take to improve the safety for all in school zones. If you are driving, always keep your eyes on the road and follow all traffic laws and speed limits. Never drive drunk, drowsy, or distracted.

If you are a pedestrian or cyclist, you can help improve your own safety by taking additional measures. Wear reflective or bright clothing as it can help you stand out to drivers, minimize your use of electronic devices, and follow all relevant laws. For cyclists, always stay in the right lane and choose to wear a helmet, no matter where or how far you plan to cycle.