Somehow, for some reason, a motorist plowed into a line of three cyclists on Coors Blvd. yesterday, hitting two. According to day old press reports, the younger victim is in “critical but stable condition” and the older rider has non-life threatening injuries. Fortunately, both in terms of safety and reporting, the third cyclist was not hit and was able to report what happened to authorities.
I have no specifics on what the third cyclist reported, other than what can be found in this KOB story on the matter. The tendency in “accident” reporting/information is that after initial news reports getting any information becomes damn difficult. So what happened? Why did someone driving down a straight, level section of four-lane road go out on the “fog line” (the white line at the edge of the two, in this case, southbound, lanes) and hit these cyclists? Why do this on a clear, sunny (but not sun-in-the-eyes) late Saturday morning?
In part due to the difficulty in getting information, one immediately starts speculating, especially as a cyclist and one who lives in the far South Valley and knows Coors at/near Los Padillas well. I’ll be honest, all my speculations right now are pretty rough on the motorist, in terms of both that person’s ability to drive and concern for human life.
With two southbound lanes and the typical light traffic (a combination that certainly leads to speeding, but that’s a subject for another post), you’d think a motorist wouldn’t have any trouble easing by a cyclist or three lined up on the far edge of the outside lane. I don’t know exactly where along Coors the incident occurred, but here’s a Street View screenshot looking southbound at the Coors/Los Padillas intersection itself:
An ideal place to ride a bicycle? No, but nor is it an ideal place to drive a car, truck or horse trailer. Yet amid the rather trashy condition, cracked pavement and poor striping, there are two redeeming features when it comes to motorists interacting with cyclists.
- This is out in the country. Traffic is nothing like on busy sections of Coors, including the new Las Estancias section a few miles north at Rio Bravo. This is the sticks.
- Drivers have healthy room to go around cyclists, including in this particular intersection a dedicated southbound left-turn lane.
It’s primarily these two reasons that account for Coors being a fairly popular cyclist route, a condition helped even more by the fact there’s no Interstate access when Coors crosses underneath I-25 a few miles south of Los Padillas.
Nope, looking at that wide, flat stretch of Coors, one just about has to think yesterday’s incident was caused by a driver who shouldn’t be driving and/or doesn’t care much about human life other than his/her own. Again, that and any other thinking done outside the official BCSO investigation is pure speculation, but it sure doesn’t look good.
Not that any crash with serious injuries ever looks good. Perhaps the best looking outcome here, aside from a quick medical recovery on the part of the victims, would be a diligent public pursuance of more information and law enforcement follow-through to help make it less likely this happens again.
Cyclists and residents of Albuquerque have maintained information centers, many online, over the years dedicated to such pursuance, but many of those efforts have waned a bit in recent years for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it’s beyond time to re-energize such efforts. More about this and other cycling-related ideas in upcoming posts.
Stay safe out there, everybody. And if you’re driving, you know it may seem inconceivable, but you can slow down. Really. You can.