A very interesting article in the New York Times from November 9, 2013.
“Is it OK to kill a cyclist?”
Cyclists, I think you know Duke City Wheelmen as a group that wants only the safest conditions possible for bicycling. With that in mind, consider the image below.
This is Tramway Boulevard NM Highway 556, on the westbound side. There is a six (6) to eight (8) foot shoulder up and down all of Tramway. And, as some of you know, NMDOT District 3 is repaving the entire shoulder of this east/west portion in an ongoing project (as of 10-27-2013).
With the goal of maximum safety in mind, PLEASE stop to consider your choice of where you ride on Tramway Boulevard. If you are one of the many cyclists magnetically drawn to the white line, I’m asking you to reconsider that choice.
Instead, I would suggest putting the width of this shoulder to use for safety.
Here, on a road like this, we can choose to have a buffer – space between ourselves and passing motor vehicles.
I know, you are just riding along (JRA) and not really thinking too much about your position on the road. You find your groove and it is as if you are magnetically drawn to the white line (even though you are riding a carbon bike).
What you aren’t thinking about is probably working against you.
One of the most frequent comments I get from motorists is their negative reaction to cyclists riding the white line. These folks get upset and angry about cyclists riding the white line, and frankly I do too.
I’m the first to defend a cyclists right to move left when there is an obstacle or the shoulder is too torn up to ride. There are many situations where we need to move left (see below).
But when this isn’t the case, THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE DOING and move right. It is better for you and it is better for us all – because it avoids irritating motor vehicle drivers when we don’t have to.
I’m all for being seen and for taking the lane when necessary.
vehicular road users
according to City of Albuquerque and New Mexico traffic code.
When you stop and think about it though, riding right when safely possible doesn’t diminish our status as vehicles on the road at all. It could be considered our way of making “Share The Road” a two way street (pun intended).
I send pictures like these to motorists who email me to complain about cyclists riding the white line, or moving left.
But on highways like Tramway, NM556, it is much harder to talk to motor vehicle drivers about what cyclists are doing. I don’t have a defense for the behavior and I don’t really think there is a good defense on a road like Tram.
If you would like to add your voice to the call to NMDOT to provide safe shoulders on ALL New Mexico Highways, for cyclists, pedestrians and any driver who needs to pull off the road, contact the New Mexico Department of Transportation
New Mexico State Cabinet Secretary, Designate Tom Church
P. O. Box 1149
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504-1149