Has New Mexico Made Progress in Bicycle Safety?
Historically, New Mexico has not been a state that is friendly to cyclists and bike enthusiasts. In the entire United States, New Mexico was ranked no. 44 regarding bicycle safety in 2017.
According to the League of American Bicyclists, which is in charge of these yearly rankings, published a progress report nearing the end of 2018 in lieu of a full report card. A year after being ranked 44 in the country, how is New Mexico dealing with its bicycle safety issue?
Highs & Lows
The League of American Cyclists claims in New Mexico’s progress report that two points of data are continually moving up and down each year. These two pieces are the state’s utilization of federal funding for cyclists and pedestrians and the number of bicycle crash fatalities reported in the state.
In the span of 10 years, New Mexico allocated 2.1 percent of the Federal Highway Administration funding on biking and walking. This does meet the League of American Cyclists’ Bicycle Friend Action requirement, which means that states are required to speed a minimum of 2 percent of FHWA funding on cyclists and pedestrians. However, it is also the 10 largest decreases in funding reported in the United States.
There were 8.3 deaths per 10,000 bicycle commuters in New Mexico in the past 10 years. In that same period, New Mexico also had one of the 10 greatest decreases in bicycle commuting, with only 0.7 percent commuters traveling to work by bike.
A Statewide Plan to Prioritize Cyclist Safety
According to the League of American Cyclists, at the time of compiling the progress report data for New Mexico, the state had not completed its Prioritized Statewide Bicycle Network Plan. Under this plan, which launched in December of 2018, the League intends to establish “a sustainable framework within existing roadway reconstruction and major rehabilitation processes to incorporate bicycle infrastructure on state roadways."
When the League finally completed its progress report, they claimed that their hopes were that the program would lead to more predictable and increased federal data. Time will tell if this plan addresses the needs of cyclists and if it ultimately results in an increase in statewide bicycling while keeping fatalities low.
New Mexico Bicycle Accidents
New Mexico is the second deadliest state in the country regarding bicycle collisions. The state’s lack of designated bike lanes and the rampant alcohol-use both play a role. Despite these factors, many drivers don’t respect cyclists’ right to use the road.
Nearly 300 people are injured in cycling crashes in New Mexico each year. Basic physics shows that these collisions do not often favor cyclists. In most cases, cyclists sustain very serious injuries that can lead to life-long complications.
The legal team at Will Ferguson & Associates understands that being injured in a cycling accident is frustrating. A reckless driver is likely liable for your injuries, and we can help you bring them to justice. Give us a call at (505) 243-5566 to discuss your case with a trained New Mexico cycling accident lawyer.
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