One of the main causes of bicycle accidents in New Mexico is someone breaking a state law or roadway rule. If you choose to ride a bicycle around New Mexico, make sure you pay attention to the road and obey all of the traffic laws that apply to you. This can reduce your risk of an accident. Otherwise, you could put yourself in harm’s way.
Bicyclists Have the Same Rights and Responsibilities as Drivers
Compared to other states, New Mexico does not have many bicycle laws. It is relatively loose with bicyclist rights and responsibilities – making it largely up to bicyclists to protect themselves. For this reason, it is considered a dangerous state for bicyclists. Any of the laws that do apply to bikers in New Mexico should be followed strictly.
First, New Mexico Statutes Section 66-3-702 states that all bicyclists are granted the same rights that apply to motor vehicle drivers. This means the right to ride in the road and share the road with other motorists. Bicyclists are also subject to all of the duties applicable to drivers, with some special regulations pertaining only to cyclists.
Bicycle Riding Rules
Bicyclists must obey all of the same traffic laws and roadway rules as drivers. They must ride in the same direction as traffic and yield the right-of-way to others, when necessary. They must stop at stop signs and red lights, obey speed limits, pay attention to the road, and follow other road laws. In New Mexico, the same laws apply to electric bicycles, as the state does not have special rules for these bikes.
In addition to obeying general traffic laws, bicyclists also have specific regulations that pertain to them alone. If there is a bicycle path, the biker must use it. Otherwise, the cyclist has the right to ride in the road. Every bicyclist riding in the road must stay as close to the right-hand side of the road as possible, except when passing or turning. Two bicyclists may ride abreast of one another, but a biker cannot share a lane with a motor vehicle (lane split).
Section 66-3-703 states that no person on a bicycle may ride anywhere other than upon a permanent and regular seat attached to the bicycle. No bike can carry more than one person at a time unless the bicycle is specifically designed to do so. A passenger riding on the handlebars or wheel pegs is against the law. No bicyclist can cling to a vehicle (66-3-704) or carry articles that prevent the cyclist from keeping at least one hand on the handlebar (66-3-706).
Bicyclists Under the Age of 18 Must Wear Helmets
In New Mexico, helmets are required for bicycle riders and passengers under the age of 18. This is the law under the Child Helmet Safety Act, which went into effect July 1, 2007. This act also requires helmet use in children on snowmobiles, ATVs, off-road vehicles and all recreational vehicles. Adult bicyclists who are 18 and older do not legally have to wear helmets, although doing so can reduce their risk of serious and fatal head injuries.
Bicycles Must Have the Proper Equipment
It is against the law in New Mexico to ride a bicycle that does not have the correct equipment. New Mexico Statute 66-3-707 states that if a bicycle is used at night, it must have a white front headlight that is visible from at least 500 feet and a red rear reflector or light that is visible from at least 300 feet. In addition, all bicycles must have bells or other devices (other than sirens or whistles) that can send audible signals a distance of at least 100 feet. Finally, a bicycle must be equipped with a brake that is capable of stopping the bicycle on dry, level and clean pavement.
If you get into a bicycle accident in New Mexico despite obeying all of these laws, contact a bicycle accident lawyer right away for a legal consultation. You may be entitled to financial compensation.