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Biking to safety

The Roundup: Biking to safety

Local safe ride coalition looks to NMSU to promote transportation safety

By Jenna Candelaria, Staff Writer

Published: Sunday, November 8, 2009
Updated: Monday, November 9, 2009

The Mesilla Valley Bike Coalition will host its monthly Share the Road Las Cruces Visibility Ride on Tuesday to encourage safe bicycle riding and awareness in the community and the New Mexico State University campus.

MVBC member Ellen Castello said the visibility rides began after the death of bicyclist Anthony Lemieux in November of 2008.

“We wanted to help educate the Las Cruces community on how motorists and bicyclists can safely share the road,” Castello said.

The November visibility ride will begin at 7 a.m. from Sam’s Club, at 7:15 a.m. from Alamo Mine Trail and Soledad Canyon and at 7:20 a.m. from the Las Cruces Rail Road Museum. The riders will meet for coffee at the Starbucks on the corner of University Avenue and Espina Street at 7:45 a.m.

“The visibility ride demonstrates to bicyclists how to ride with traffic safely, as well as to raise awareness among motorists of the presence of cyclists’ ability to share the road safely,” Castello said.

NMSU student Jennifer Grider said she has seen problems with bicyclists when driving near campus.

“I always have problems with bicyclists and traffic laws,” Grider said.

Grider said sharing the road can be a problem for most NMSU students.

“Pedestrians fail to use crosswalks, bicycles fail to stop at stop signs, and motorists nearly run everyone down,” Grider said.

To raise awareness, Castello said the coalition developed a Share the Road Educational Campaign and presented it to the City of Las Cruces. Castello said the Visibility Rides began in December of 2008 and included City Council Members Nathan Small, Gil Jones, Sharon Thomas and State Representative Nathan Cote as well as local cyclists.

“We now have monthly rides on the second Tuesday of the moth starting at three locations,” Castello said.

Castello said the visibility rides are important to college students because bicycling is a safe and effective way to commute to work or school and is good for health and recreation.

“The MVBC can work with students to help NMSU become a Bicycle-Friendly campus,” Castello said, adding that a Visibility Ride hosted on campus would help raise awareness.

Castello said members of the MVBC are League of American Bicyclists instructors who are willing to work with student groups and various cycling programs.

“The benefits can be applied to the NMSU community,” Castello said. “We would welcome the opportunity to work with the university and the city to make this happen.”

Castello said the next rides will be Dec. 8 and Jan. 12. For more information, visit www.visibilityride.blogspot.com