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Albuquerque puts renewed focus on bicyclists

There is a beautiful simplicity in the basic bicycle. Maybe that’s why cycling has grown in popularity over the last decade or so; both as a form of exercise and as a vehicle replacement.

Albuquerque has embraced bikes almost as much as cyclists themselves. A bike-friendly city, our town boasts over 400 miles of designated bike lanes, trails and other amenities for individuals powering themselves on two wheels. This is why the recent hit-and-run of a cyclist has come as such a shock.

Authorities on the lookout

According to KOB 4, an orange truck with a UNM license plate struck a cyclist on Yale near Gibson in early August. Despite the severity of the collision, which Albuquerque police spokesman Simon Drobik stated would have likely caused severe front-end damage to the truck, the driver did not call emergency services or even stop to check on the cyclist.

Details on the cyclist’s injuries have not been released, though Drobik confirmed that the cyclist was badly injured, stating that the driver committed a felony by fleeing the scene of an accident in which a victim sustained bodily harm. Should the cyclist succumb to their injuries, the driver may also face vehicular homicide once they are taken into custody.

Stay safe on the roads

Designated bike lanes can only provide so much protection for cyclists. That is why local Parks and Rec Program Coordinator Chuck Malagodi is stressing cyclist education for individuals in the community.

“We teach them things like driving with the flow of traffic, we teach them the importance of following traffic control devices,” Malagodi told KOB 4. “We teach them how to be visible.”

Being visible and alert are two of the best steps a cyclist can take to protect themselves on the road. Additionally, the National Highway Safety Administration recommends that all riders:

  • Wear a helmet
  • Wear reflective clothing and equipment to maximize visibility
  • Ride a bike that fits them, a bike that is too large is harder to control
  • Obey all street signs and road markings, no differently than a car would
  • Ride defensively, assume drivers do not see you
  • Stay alert, do not stare at the ground, listen to music or text and ride

These are a few of the best ways a cyclist can advocate for their own safety. It is important to also remember that if a cyclist is injured due to the negligence of a driver, they are most likely due compensation to cover medical treatment, pain, emotional trauma and even punitive damages. A professional attorney can help an individual recover these damages.

Stay safe while out on the roads this fall. The air is quickly cooling off and the autumn breezes are picking up, making for excellent biking weather. Consider these and other bicycle safety lessons and enjoy the season.

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