New Mexico is the second deadliest state in the nation for unsuspecting bicycle riders. Per capita, more bike riders die from collisions with motor vehicles in New Mexico than any state, except Florida. Officials say that one reason is the level of substance abuse in New Mexico, coupled with the fact that there are very few dedicated bicycle lanes.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that people who are struck and killed by cars while riding a bicycle account for 2.2 percent of traffic fatalities.
Liability for these accidents often involve negligence. Motorists will frequently argue that the bike was in their path, on their portion of the road, but unless and until we treat cyclists like road sharing companions and partners, these accidents will continue unabated.
Cars and trucks most often strike bicyclists:
- Between 6 and 9pm
- In urban areas
- While drinking and driving
- While engaged with technology
Both cyclists and motorists are required to obey the rules of the road. There are two components – actual traffic laws and our duty as citizens to exercise ordinary care. People who ride bicycles have a duty to:
- Always wear a helmet
- Decrease risk of crash with vigilance
- Make sure bicycle is in good working order
- Keep both hands on the handlebars
- Tuck in shoelaces and pant legs
- Plan your route to avoid high motor vehicle traffic times and patterns
If you or a loved one has been struck by a motor vehicle or someone has crashed into you while you were riding a bicycle, please call Brian Branch immediately.
Brian Branch is dedicated to helping victims seek justice for their injuries. If you have been injured or suffered property damage as a result of a crash, call The Law Office of Brian K. Branch at 505-207-4401.
Common types of negligence
Motorists often crash into bicyclists because they are behaving in a negligent manner. This negligence can be speeding, running a red light/stop sign, engaging with technology and driving while distracted or simply daydreaming instead of paying attention to the road.
It is also important to note that cyclists can be negligent too. People who ride bicycles have an obligation to observe the rules and laws. They may not, for example, ride in the middle of the road, or ride against traffic, or swerve into the lane of a motor vehicle.
Drivers must share the roadways
The bottom line is that people who choose to ride bicycles have the same rights as people who choose the drive a motor vehicle. But when a motor vehicle and a bicycle collide, the bicyclist will always sustain the injuries and damage.
Responsible car and truck drivers should practice safe driving and be aware of bicycles. These are a few tips for avoiding costly and potentially deadly crashes:
- Yield to bikes as you would another motor vehicle
- Do not turn in front of bicycles
- Give cyclists room, do not crowd them when they are in bike lanes
- Do not speed
- Do not drive while distracted by mobile devices or technology
Since our founding in in 1997, attorneys and staff at The Law Office of Brian K. Branch have been providing aggressive representation with compassion for the victims of accidents throughout New Mexico. Please call 505-207-4401 to schedule a free consultation today.