New Mexico Bicycle Laws: Cyclists, Protect Yourself from Car Accidents
The favorable temperatures of New Mexico are conducive to some of the best mountain biking and road cycling year-round, even for the avid riders in the northern part of the state during the winter months. Due to the popularity of cycling in New Mexico, motorists recognize the need to share the road with non-motorized vehicles and pedestrians.
Most drivers you encounter on the road likely give you the leeway you need to feel safe. However, distracted, intoxicated, and aggressive driving are real dangers you face every time you hit the road. If you are like many cyclists, you likely even have a personal story of your own that describes a “close call” between you and another car.
In a motor vehicle accident caused by a driver’s negligence, you have the right to file a claim for your medical bills, lost work wages, and other recoverable losses. Nevertheless, the other driver may try to reduce your award by accusing you of not following New Mexico bicycle laws.
In This Post
Protect yourself in advance to mitigate, or altogether avoid, this situation down the road. Bicycle laws keep you, your family, and other people on the road safe. In this post, I share some applicable legal concepts that relate to preventing a motor vehicle accident from the perspective of a New Mexico bicycle accident injury lawyer.
“Share the Road” in New Mexico
Public roads in New Mexico are opened to all lawfully operated motor vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians. In addition to these freedoms, cyclists hold the same rights and responsibilities as other drivers. However, the visibility of bicyclists on the road is sometimes low for motorists, which makes it a more dangerous activity.
Simply put, you have as much of a right to be on the road as another vehicle, but recognize that you hold a general duty of care to act safely, reasonably, and conscientiously under NMSA § 66-3-702 (1978).
New Mexico Bicycle Safety Laws
New Mexico statutes address bicycle safety rules as well. Our state is not too restrictive, but it does require a certain level of attention to operate a bicycle lawfully.
Here are five (5) state statutes, summarized by a New Mexico bicycle accident injury lawyer, that you should understand if you sporadically or routinely ride a bicycle:
- Riding on bicycles: Under NMSA § 66-3-703 (1978), you must ride it properly. That means staying on the seat and peddles and keeping at least one hand on your handlebars. Only the specified number of people are allowed on the bicycle per manufacturer’s instructions. For example, a tandem bicycle may hold two riders.
- Clinging to vehicles: Under NMSA § 66-3-704 (1978), you cannot attach yourself to a car for propulsion when riding a bicycle, using roller skates, or sledding.
- Riding on roadways and bicycle paths: Under NMSA § 66-3-705 (1978), you should ride on the right side of the road as practicably possible. You are also not permitted to pass more than two (2) riders, with the exception of areas that are for exclusive bicycle use. This statute also says that you cannot behave in a manner that creates a public safety hazard.
- Carrying articles: Under NMSA § 66-3-705 (1978), you are permitted to carry packages and bundles so as long as it does not prevent you from keeping at least one hand upon your handlebars. Backpacks and panniers are ideal for larger loads and solve this problem.
- Lamps and other equipment on bicycles: Under NMSA § 66-3-707 (1978), you must equip your bike with a front lamp that is visible from at least five hundred (500) feet away. A red reflector visible from at least three hundred (300) feet away is necessary for the rear of your bicycle. Bicycles must also have a bell or other sound device that signals to others and working brakes.
Overall, New Mexico does address key bicycle safety issues. Ultimately, cyclists must know how to behave around cars. Actively use safety equipment, follow the road signs, and stay aware when on the road. Even though we do not have the most strict bicycle laws, that does not mean that you cannot exercise reasonable caution on your own accord.
What to Do If a Car Hits You When You Are Riding a Bicycle
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, civil laws protect you if a negligent motorist hits you when you are acting within the accordance of New Mexico bicycle laws. Even if you were partially at fault, comparative negligence rules still allow you to recover some or all of your losses.
Take the following steps if a car hits you when you are riding a bicycle to protect your rights:
- Seek immediate medical attention and file a police report
- Focus on preventing further injury from happening
- Do not make formal statements to insurance companies
- Keep the details of your accident off of social media
- Avoid missing statute of limitations deadlines on your case
- Speak with a New Mexico bicycle accident injury lawyer
Insurance companies may attempt to offer you an insufficient settlement for your injuries or loved one’s death. Make sure that you receive the compensation our state’s laws provide. An attorney will help you pursue an adequate civil award for your losses.
Call a New Mexico Bicycle Accident Lawyer at Grano Law Offices, P.C.
If you or a loved one are severely hurt, call Grano Law Offices, P.C. to protect your rights and liberties. Start now with a Free Consultation by calling (505) 426-8711 or by private messaging me here. My office responds to all messages within twenty-four (24) business hours.