As the weather heats up, more people want to get outside and enjoy the beautiful sunshine in New Mexico! That means more runners and, yes, bicyclists on the roads. Unfortunately, the risk for serious injury, even death, increases during the summer months due to the increase in number of bicyclists. As drivers, we have the obligation to share the road and minimize the risk that bicyclists have when commuting or exercising.
Tips for Drivers
It’s fair to say that bikes are here to stay! Sharing the road is a necessity. We can all do our part to ensure that everyone on the road can get home safely. As a driver:
1. Always give at least three feet of space. In New Mexico, giving a cyclist three feet of space between your car and their bike is the law. This also helps bicyclists feel safer when you’re passing them and can be important, should the bicyclist ever lose control of their bike.
2. Always check before entering a bike lane. Looking over your shoulder is good practice when switching lanes, but some drivers ignore the double check when switching through a bike lane. Always looking out for bikes can help you avoid a collision.
3. Always overestimate how quickly a bike is traveling. Many accidents are caused in situations where a driver underestimated how quickly the bicyclist was traveling. Bike riders have the ability to travel between 15 and 30 miles per hour on average, with faster speeds on the downhill. It’s always safer to pass or turn after the bike has passed than to underestimate the speed at which they are traveling.
4. Always look before opening your door. After parking on a street, always double check for cars and bicyclists before opening your door. A cyclist can easily be thrown off their bike by an open car door.
In collisions between a car and a bike, there have been almost no reports of their being more significant injuries to the person driving the car. Drive with care, share the road, and everyone can get home safely!
Keep Our Roads Safer for Everyone
At MVD Express, we want everyone to be able to enjoy the roads of New Mexico. By keeping an eye out for each other, from those driving, cycling or out for a run, we can all work together to keep our roads safer!