In 2015 the Albuquerque Journal reported the shocking news: New Mexico is the 2nd most deadly state for bicycle riders in the USA (per capita.) Of course, in real numbers this doesn’t compare with the population of states like California, Florida, and Texas. But as the years have gone by this fatality rate hasn’t really decreased much.
Where is New Mexico Today?
U.S. News reports that New Mexico is now 5th on the list for highest bicyclist fatalities, and 5th on the list for “most dangerous states for cyclists.” Pedestrian and bicyclist deaths have grown by a shocking 45% in the past decade. With the resurgence of bicycle riding and walking caused by the coronavirus pandemic, will these numbers continue to increase? There’s no data yet, but from what we’ve seen, the number of bicycle accidents in New Mexico is only going to go up.
The Pandemic Effect on Drivers and Public Safety
From what we’ve seen in our practice, there are more speeding and intoxicated drivers out there than ever. People got used to the mostly empty roads in 2020 and started driving faster and more recklessly. Unfortunately they didn’t slow down. Law enforcement agencies around the country are reporting that reckless driving behaviors went up and stayed up because of the pandemic. Combine that with the increase in depression, rage, and frustration people are feeling and higher numbers of drunk drivers are sure to follow.
All this combines to spell bad news for bicycle riders. As people speed and drive distractedly, pedestrians and bicycle riders are the ones who pay the price. All too often these car-on-bicycle crashes result in severe injuries or death for the rider.
Will School Children be at Risk?
Parents and schools have long wanted to encourage students to walk and ride bikes to school. The benefits are tremendous. Health is improved. Attention is improved. Air quality is improved. This is something we can all get behind.
But if the number of bicyclists increases, will the number of fatalities and terrifying crashes increase?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ranked New Mexico as the #1 most distracted state when analyzing the numeber of car accident fatalities involving distracted drivers. This makes many parents reluctant to allow their children out onto our streets.
Biking advocates are adamant about having more kids and more people in general on the streets, walking and biking. To them it’s a question of freedom and power. Our children should be free and safe to travel where they want to when they want to. They argue the only way to improve safety on our roadways is by participating in this movement. If nobody ever gets out on their bikes, nobody will want to change our focus to be more bicyclist-friendly.
Our hope is that we will all be safer and more conscious of pedestrians and bicycle riders. Zero fatalities is a goal we can all get behind. Let’s encourage each other to ride, walk, and drive responsibly. And if you do get hurt in a bicycle accident, call the bicycle accident lawyers at Roadrunner Law Firm. We’ll take care of you.