Passing laws: New Mexico follows general traffic rules and accordingly in the event a motor vehicle passes a bicycle or vice versa, it shall leave a safe distance.
Helmet law: New Mexico requires the operator or passenger of a bicycle under 18 years of age to wear a helmet.
Laws to Protect the Bicyclist: There are certain laws entitled “vulnerable user laws.” These laws, in essence, require the vehicle least at risk to yield to the vehicle most at risk. For example, a motor vehicle would have to yield to a bicycle and a bicycle would have to yield to a pedestrian. New Mexico does not have any specific vulnerable law
Distracted Driving Laws: New Mexico has one law related to distracted driving, which is that it shall be a traffic violation for a holder of a provisional license to use a mobile communications device while driving a motor vehicle.
Lane Position Laws for a Bicyclist: Generally speaking New Mexico law requires the bicyclist to be as close to the right hand edge of the road as possible.
Sidewalk Riding: New Mexico does not have a law passed that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk. It is important to note that New Mexico does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane. So if there is a sidewalk, the choice of road or sidewalk is yours to make.
Riding a Bike under the Influence: Obviously, it is never a good idea to drive any vehicle under the influence of alcohol. However, in New Mexico bicycles are not defined as vehicles. New Mexico’s law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. However, bicycles should not be operated while under the influence and a bicyclist may potentially be charged with a DUI because bicyclists are subject to the duties applicable to vehicles as defined by New Mexico statute.
Stop Sign Laws: New Mexico bicycles have to follow the same rules as motor vehicles regarding the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and New Mexico does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.
Important Resources and Links