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Special Considerations New Mexico Drivers Should Take When Near Bicyclists

Published on Jan 14, 2021 at 6:44 pm in Bicycle Accidents.

Bicycle lane symbol painted on ground

Most of the time on the road, you come across other cars and trucks. Sometimes, you might encounter pedestrians and bicyclists. When you come across a bicyclist on the road in New Mexico, you should know how to legally act around them and what you should take into consideration. Knowing this information can help prevent a bicycle accident from occurring and keep traffic moving smoothly.

Unfortunately, bicycle accidents still happen. When you’ve been involved in a collision while on a bicycle that wasn’t your fault, then you could use the help of a bicycle accident lawyer from Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm. We’ll help you recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages.

How to Drive Around Bicyclists in New Mexico

Motorists are supposed to share the road with bicyclists and treat them as if they are just another vehicle on the road. But since a cyclist is more exposed on their bike and would likely suffer more severe injuries in the event of a collision, a motorist should take special considerations when driving near cyclists.

Here are some of the considerations that drivers should keep in mind when they are sharing the road with bicyclists:

  • Pass Carefully. Our state doesn’t have a specific distance that you must stay away from a bicyclist when you are passing them on their left. When the opposing traffic lane or the lane to the left of you is clear, you can pass a cyclist at a safe speed. A good rule is to give the bicyclist at least three feet of space between your car and their person, but there is no law mandating this in New Mexico.
  • No Dooring. When you see a bicyclist approaching from behind, you cannot open your door for them to ride into, which is also known as dooring. This is dangerous for cyclists, so always double check the area is clear before opening your car door.
  • Be Careful When Turning. If you’re making a left turn, watch for bicyclists who are entering the intersection. They can be harder to see and since you’re not expecting them, it can be deadly for them to be hit while you’re turning left. When you and a cyclist are both traveling the same way and you make a right turn, it can also cause an accident. Allow a bicyclist to proceed past the road first before you make a right turn.
  • Be Careful in Intersections. Cyclist turning left when you are proceeding straight through an intersection can cause deadly collisions. Similarly, bicyclists must wait at red lights for a car to activate the green signal, so be careful when approaching a red light because a cyclist could be waiting.
  • Keep a Safe Distance. As with other vehicles, you should maintain a safe distance between you and a bicyclist. This gives you plenty of time to react and prevent an accident if they make any sudden moves or if any other vehicles cause an accident.

New Mexico Bicycle Laws

Like many other states, bicyclists on the road are to be treated like a driver of a car and must follow all the rules of the road. The only difference is that bicyclists must travel as far right on the road as possible, cannot ride side by side unless in a big enough bike lane, and cannot operate their bikes on a roadway in any way that would be a public safety hazard, according to the New Mexico Vehicle Procedures Manual.

Additionally, minors must wear helmets when riding a bike. Riders over 18 don’t legally have to wear a helmet, but they still should because that is the safest way to operate a bike, especially when riding on the road.

If you are planning to bike on Tribal or Pueblo land, then you should call ahead to ensure that the land is available for visitors prior to going there. Sometimes access could be restricted for ceremonies and other reasons, so it’s best to call ahead to make sure you are not disturbing the people there. Some Pueblos may charge an entry fee.

Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm Can Represent You

If you’ve been hurt in a bicycle accident that wasn’t your fault, then you deserve compensation for the injuries and damages that you have suffered from. In Albuquerque, Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm can help you financially recover from your collision so that you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery.

Our bicycle accident lawyers are here to represent you and fight for your rights. Reach out to our office today so we can get started as soon as possible on your bicycle accident claim.

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