Albuquerque Police Department

At least three cyclists were pulled over while riding on the Tramway shoulder on March 25 and were warned (no citation) by the APD Officer that what they were doing was illegal.  He told them to “look it up” when he was asked what ordinance he was enforcing.

“He said they were just giving out warnings now, and about to start handing out tickets.”  This seems very reminiscent of what the cycling community went through a few years back….

City Council office (768-3100) provided the following info:

Ord. # O-11-46 was passed (8 in favor, 1 opposed) by City Council on 3/21/2011: Amending Sections 8-2-1-44(A) And 8-3-3-6 ROA 1994 To Remove The Prohibition On Bicycles Using Limited Access Roadways That Have Not Been Posted To Prohibit Bicycles

The ordinance was signed into law on April 5, 2011 by Mayor Berry.

If you care to find the ordinance, go to www.cabq.gov/council

(On left hand side choose “legislation”, then click on the link for “pending & adopted legislation” enter the ord #, the year (2011) and then click on “search”)

The Foothills APD station it turns out is the “home” station for Officer Riley (car L61) who pulled the cyclists over

This is minor to being shot by APD, but it is all part of the same problem.  There is new information in the news that reveals problems with the training candidates receive.  In addition to issues with the training, APD has lost so many senior officers, there is almost no one there for the long period of on-the-job training it takes for rookies to become good officers. With the Justice Department investigation ongoing & moral at rock bottom, recruiting quality candidates to the job is also a huge problem.   Also, you can be sure that no officers are receiving the specialized training it takes to investigate a crash involving a motor vehicle and a bicycle or pedestrian.

All this in turn leads to a breakdown of police effectiveness across the board, from traffic safety to burglaries or other policing issues. These police shootings are the most outrageous, but everywhere you look APD is compromised.  All of us are affected; this is not an issue just for the “homeless.”

For cyclists and pedestrians, the way that the Traffic Division is compromised leads to a lack of due diligence when investigating motor vehicle/bicycle or pedestrian crashes.  This in turn will make it virtually impossible for anyone to be charged when there are severe crashes that result in great bodily harm or death.   In addition, unlike a 1997/98 APD effort to actually enforce traffic laws today we have an “engineering” approach to bringing traffic under control.

This is a big issue.  Most people are not aware of the extent of the problem within the Albuquerque Police Department.  One way this all impacts cyclists and pedestrians is that the Traffic Division comprises the only people who have any chance at all to tell the stories of victims of severe crashes.  Without training and being able to accurately document crash scene evidence, no accurate picture can be painted of what happened and victims have no voice.

I’m not anti-cop.  What I want from APD is for the officers to be able to do (so much) more than pull the trigger.

Jennifer Buntz

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About jb

I have been riding a bicycle throughout New Mexico and the US for over 30 years. Drawn into advocacy for safer cycling after my long time cycling friend Paula Higgins was killed by a driver in 2006, my efforts have grown and expanded since that time. Join me in working towards safer streets and highways for all New Mexico road users.

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