Bicycles are coming back in popularity as a mode of transportation. Bicycles are an eco-friendly mode of transportation and they offer health benefits to the rider since they are self-powered. In recent years, special lanes have been set up for bicyclists to use as a way to prevent injuries and other accidents. Bicycle buffer zones give bicyclists their own lane and are found on some city streets.
Bicycle buffer zones are characterized by painted strips and sometimes images of bicycles on the pavement to denote the adjacent bike lane. They are larger than regular bike lanes and offer more protection for the bicyclist from parked and moving vehicles. However, despite their ability to increase biker safety, some Bernalillo residents are still involved in bicycle accidents in the 'bike buffer zone'. If the bike accident happened within the zone, it may help to prove if a driver was negligent at the time of the bicycle accident.
Other New Mexico laws pertaining to bicycle rider safety can detail how motor-vehicle drivers and bicyclists are to interact in cases where their paths cross. Both drivers and bicyclists are expected to practice caution in each-other's presence. Motor-vehicle drivers specifically are expected to be extra cautious when in the proximity of a bicyclist. This is because bicyclists are always at a disadvantage in comparison to a motor-vehicle since they cannot stop or speed up as quickly and can suffer serious injuries and the corresponding medical expenses.
If it is determined another driver was at fault for a bicyclist's injuries, they could face punishment. A negligent driver could potentially face criminal charges, personal injury suits or both. Bicycle buffer zones are almost always well-marked for both bicyclists and drivers to see. A failure to heed the bicycle buffer zone and the bike lane within could spell disaster for a bicyclist.
Source: injury.findlaw.com, "Bicycle Buffer Zone Laws," Accessed January 19, 2017