Bill aims to give New Mexico cyclists more space

Politics - Government

There might be a new rule on the road. A new law would make drivers give cyclists five feet of space as they pass them.

Committee members were all for improving safety for cyclists but were worried about how it would be enforced.

“I strongly support this piece of legislation but I feel like this isn’t going to do too much to move the needle about safety,” said Rep. Jason Harper, (R) Rio Rancho. “And there’s a lot more that needs to be done and this is one step in the right direction, and I would like to see 15 more steps.”

House Bill 192, sponsored by Rep. Angelica Rubio and Sen. Peter Wirth, wants to give cyclists more space on the roads. According to the League of American Bicyclists, New Mexico ranks 44th as the safest state to ride your bike.

The bill said less than five feet of space between a car and a bike is not considered safe.

At the meeting, no one opposed the bill and said this could improve safety on the roads.

“If we could have a consistent law statewide, this will save lives and keep people from getting injured,” said a New Mexican man during public comment.

The bill also said if giving a bicyclist space as you pass them would force you into oncoming traffic, you should wait until that lane is clear to pass.

A few cities in the state, like Santa Fe, have an ordinance similar to this, but supporters want to make it statewide.

The bill passed in the committee and if the governor signs off on it, drivers would be hit with a $25 fine if they break the law.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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