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Why Do Motorists Hit Bicyclists in New Mexico?

bicycle after a car accident

Amid the hustle and bustle of modern roads, a troubling trend has emerged in New Mexico: An increasing number of motorists are involved in collisions with bicyclists. If you or a loved one was a bicyclist in an accident with a motorist in New Mexico, it’s essential to understand the “why” behind the accident—and what your legal remedies might be.

What are the Most Common Causes of Cycling Accidents, Injuries, and Fatalities in New Mexico?

Negligence is the main factor in most bicycle accidents throughout New Mexico, and the rest of the country. It includes drivers failing to yield the right of way, opening car doors without checking for cyclists (known as “dooring”), making improper turns, and not maintaining a safe distance from cyclists. Despite the numerous laws designed to prevent these kinds of accidents, drivers often fail to comply with them due to distraction, a lack of understanding of the relevant requirements, or poor emotional stability.

Other Causes of Cycling Accidents

While negligence plays a role in many cases, there are other factors that lawyers consider when evaluating this type of accident.

Poor Road Conditions: Potholes, uneven road surfaces, debris, and slippery roads (due to rain, ice, or oil spills) can lead to bicycle accidents. Such conditions are more hazardous for cyclists than motorists due to the smaller size and relative instability of bicycles, leading to increased chances of an accident with a bicyclist.

Lack of Proper Cycling Infrastructure: Many places lack dedicated cycling lanes or have poorly designed intersections that do not adequately accommodate bicycles. This forces cyclists to share the road with larger, faster-moving vehicles, increasing the risk of accidents.

Visibility Issues: Accidents often occur because drivers fail to see cyclists, especially at night or in poor weather conditions. Cyclists wearing non-reflective clothing or lacking proper lighting on their bikes contribute to this problem.

Speeding and Aggressive Driving: Speeding vehicles have less time to react to cyclists, and the impact of collisions at high speeds is often severe. Aggressive driving behaviors like tailgating, horn honking, or verbal threats can also lead to accidents.

Distractions: Both drivers and cyclists can be distracted – for drivers, it’s often cell phone use or other activities inside the vehicle, and for cyclists, it could be listening to music, using a phone, or a distraction from something along the roadway.

bicycle and cars sharing the road before a car accident
Image by Oleg Prachuk by Canva.com

Mechanical Failures: Poorly maintained bicycles can lead to accidents. Issues like brake failure, tire blowouts, or chain problems can cause cyclists to lose control. Likewise, mechanical issues with vehicles, especially flat tires or other events that lead to a loss of control, can lead to accidents with bicyclists.

Intersection Crossings: A significant number of accidents occur at intersections, where the paths of motorists and cyclists often intersect. Misjudgment of distance and speed and failure to adhere to traffic signals are common causes.

All motorists are legally bound to obey the rules of the road when they are operating a vehicle, including sharing the road with bicyclists who have the same rights as other drivers.

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a bicycle accident in New Mexico, follow the tips below to ensure that once you can file a personal injury claim, you will have the best opportunity for a successful outcome.

What Should I Do After Getting Hit by a Vehicle While Riding My Bike?

All bicycle accidents and injuries are unique. If your injuries and circumstances allow, follow these instructions to ensure you get the help you need.

  • Move out of harm’s way and wait in a safe place nearby
  • Call 9-1-1, wait for authorities to arrive, and obtain a copy of the police report after the accident
  • Exchange contact and insurance info with all parties involved
  • Document the accident in writing, with photos and video
  • Seek medical care right away and follow all your physician’s instructions

Next, you should contact a personal injury lawyer, who will be able to advise you on the merits of your case and begin handling the legal next steps so that you and your family can focus on healing.

Contact our Experienced Bicycle Accidents Attorneys at Kane Personal Injury.

One important thing to remember if you or a loved one has been a cyclist in an accident with a motor vehicle is that even if there was no actual malice on the motorist’s part, there may still be legal liability. A failure to comply with road laws by the motorist is one of the most common sources of liability; however, other factors can contribute to an accident. For example, a road authority could create a hazard by failing to maintain a road surface, or a parts manufacturer could create an issue with a defective part on the bike or motor vehicle.

Having a lawyer on your side means you have someone qualified to evaluate the nuances of your case, help you receive the maximum compensation you’re owed, and enable you to focus on your family when they need you the most. If you or a loved one has been hit while on a bicycle, contact the Law Office of Samuel I. Kane today for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your next steps. 

Original post published on December 15, 2021