New Mexico Fatal Bicycle Accident Statistics
In 2015, on an average day in New Mexico, there were 316 people involved in 124 car accidents, which resulted in 53 people injured and one person killed. While these statistics may seem high, traffic fatalities have actually been on a decreasing trend from 2006 through 2015.
Bicycle Accident Fatality Statistics in Recent Years
Bicyclist and other cyclist deaths have not followed any significant statistical pattern over these years, with seven cyclist fatalities in 2012, four in 2013, five in 2014, and back up to seven in 2015. In 2015, the seven cyclist deaths made up about two percent of all car crash deaths in the state that year.
Cyclist Deaths by County
The county with the highest number of bicyclist fatalities was Bernalillo County, with a total of five deaths in 2015. The other two fatalities this year occurred in Lea County and San Juan County. Since at least 2011, there has been at least one fatality in a bicycle-related collision in Bernalillo County. When looking at these statistics, however, it is important to keep in mind that Bernalillo County is also the most populous county in the state, by far.
New Mexico State Laws for Bicyclists
According to the New Mexico Vehicle Code, people riding bikes are subject to the same laws that those driving vehicles must follow. Additional laws include a regulation that a bike may only carry the number of passengers it was designed and equipped to carry, as well as a law that children under the age of eighteen must wear a helmet when riding a bike.
Under the Vehicle Code, there is also a requirement that all bikes have brakes and a bell or device that can produce a sound that can be heard 100 feet away. The sound cannot be a whistle or a siren, however. Bikes that are being ridden at night must also be equipped with a lamp that can produce white light which can be seen at a distance of at least 500 feet to the front, along with a red reflector that can be seen from 50 feet through 300 feet to the rear of the bike when the bike is directly in front of a motor vehicle.
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Initiative Program
The state has launched a campaign to decrease pedestrian and cyclist car accident injuries called the Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Initiative Program. Though it is primarily focused on pedestrian safety at present, with the “Look for Me” program, the purpose of the program is aimed to increase safety awareness for both groups.
Bernalillo County’s Efforts to Promote Safety
As the largest county, Bernalillo County is doing its part to try to reduce cyclist injuries and fatalities. The county sheriffs’ website includes a list of the laws applicable to bike riders. The website also includes a list of frequently asked questions and advises residents of some of the most common reasons for biking fatalities. These reasons include not wearing a helmet when riding and not using lights when bike riding at night.