Bicycle riders in Albuquerque, New Mexico, perhaps have cause to be concerned about their safety, especially when they ride alongside speeding motor vehicles. Although section 66 of New Mexico’s motor vehicle code grants bicyclists rights and duties similar to motor vehicle drivers, not all cyclists abide by the law. As a consequence, the number of accidents involving bicycle riders is quite high.
To address this concern, the New Mexico highway safety program should include a program dedicated to bicycle rider safety to educate and promote safe riding and driving practices. Coordination among various state agencies may be required to successfully implement a program of this kind. Every state should initiate a bicycle safety program as part of promoting highway safety given the increasing number of cyclists sharing the road with motorists. Cyclists should be educated about and reminded of the necessity for safe riding practices, such as using a helmet and avoiding riding a bicycle under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
State enforcement agencies may take strict action against violators of safety requirements. A bicycle rider should follow all traffic rules imposed on motorists and the state should promote diligent adherence to this policy. Law enforcement may also be trained on effective measures to reduce bicycle accidents. When an accident occurs, a comprehensive investigation of the crash may be initiated and all data pertaining to the crash may be documented for further reference and development of new biking safety policies.
Another important way to reduce bicycle accidents is by engineering and design of roadways. Signs and marked zones for bicyclists, off-road trails and signed routes should be provided to reduce the number of cycling accidents. Other measures, such as guiding riders on proper selection, use, fit and maintenance of bicycles, requiring use of bicycle helmets and educating motorists on the bad effects of dangerous driving may also help reduce accidents.
Source: NHTSA.gov, “Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety,” accessed on April 4, 2015