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Who Has The Right of Way – Bicycle or Car?

November 5, 2021

When you are riding a bike or driving a vehicle, it is crucial to understand when you do and do not have the right of way. The reality is that New Mexico law treats bicycles just like regular vehicles on most roadways throughout the state. Here, our team of personal injury attorneys want to discuss when cars and bicycles are supposed to yield to one another. Understanding right-of-way laws is a crucial step towards ensuring that you operate safely in order to prevent accidents and injuries.

Bicyclists Have the Same Rights on the Roadway

When we examine the guidelines related to bicycles for the state of New Mexico, we can see that every person riding a bicycle on the “roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle, except as to the special regulations within Sections 66-3-701 through 66-3-707 NMSA 1978.”

Any person on a bicycle operating on the roadway legally should ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, and they should exercise due care when passing a stranded vehicle or a vehicle proceeding in the same direction. Bicyclists are allowed to ride two abreast except on paths or areas of the roadway set aside exclusively for bicycles, where they can ride more than two abreast.

Yielding Goes Both Ways

All too often, we hear from motorists who say that bicyclists are responsible on the roadway. In contrast, no group of bicyclists would be complete without discussing the unsafe driving practices of motorists.

The reality is that bicyclists and motorists have long had a competition about determining who is more disrespectful to the other. The truth lies somewhere in between the stories you hear from these groups. Drivers in vehicles absolutely have to yield the right of way to bicyclists just like they have to yield to any other vehicle on the roadway. Conversely, bicyclists absolutely have to yield to vehicles when they are required to by law.

There is no situation where a motorist takes precedence over a bicyclist or when a bicyclist takes precedence over a motorist unless we are talking about a major highway where a bicyclist should not be present anyway.

What if a Bicyclist is Struck by a Vehicle?

If you are injured in a bicycle accident caused by the careless or negligent actions of another driver who failed to yield the right of way, you need to speak to an Albuquerque car accident attorney as soon as possible. These vehicle accident claims can become very complicated, particularly when it comes to determining liability. You should be able to recover the same types of compensation as you would be able to in a typical vehicle accident case, but the insurance carrier of the at-fault driver may try to make you, as the bicyclist, out to be the reckless party in the accident.

When you work with a skilled bicycle accident lawyer in New Mexico, you will have an advocate by your side who can investigate every aspect of the claim, gather the evidence needed to prove liability, and help you recover maximum compensation.