As many of you may know, HB 192, the five-feet-to-pass-cyclists bill, was the subject of an unfortunate amendment in the waning days of the legislative session. It was too late to do anything thoughtful about it, and so it became part of the law passed by the legislature: (1) motorists have to give five feet to pass cyclists and (2) cyclists should use “separate posted or painted bicycle lanes or pathways” “to the extent practicable.” Some in the bicycling advocacy community are of the view that the amendment is a mandatory law that requires cyclists to use multi-use paths and as such poisons the whole bill. I do not share that view; the practicable language has been in the law requiring cyclists to ride to the right insofar as practicable, and it has been interpreted to give cyclists the discretion to ride where it is safe to do so on the road. After consultation with the sponsors of the legislation, the SOB board, and the other main advocates for HB 192, we have decided that the bill ought to be signed and we will work to get the amendment repealed or tweaked in future years. The alternative is to have the bill vetoed and try to get a clean five-foot bill passed in future years. We think the former is way easier than the latter, and so we ask you to write the Governor and urge her to sign the bill.

You can write her here:

Your message can be quite short. At this point, numbers matter. She will be getting more complete analysis from the sponsors and the advocates who supported the bill. You may want to mention that as SOBs, you ride the rural roads in northern NM, and a five-foot law would be very helpful to you, especially inasmuch as the NM DOT has committed to educating the motoring public about the five-foot requirement. I am hoping for official “give bicycles five feet” signs all over the place.

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