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Albuquerque Passes New City Ordinance to Increase Pedestrian, Cyclist, and Driver Safety

The Albuquerque City Council recently passed Council Bill Number F/S O-17-51 to improve safety in the city and reduce the occurrence of Albuquerque pedestrian accidents and related issues.  Under the ordinance, pedestrians are prohibited from occupying certain locations absent an emergency, including those near highway entrance and exit ramps and medians.  The new ordinance also prohibits pedestrians, in the absence of an emergency, from engaging in physical interactions or exchanges with drivers and other occupants of vehicles.  Similarly, occupants of motor vehicles within travel lanes or intersections are prohibited from engaging in physical interactions or exchanges with pedestrians unless an emergency situation makes the interactions or exchanges necessary.  Signs are anticipated to go up soon to advise people of the new city ordinance.

According to a KOB 4 article, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico has expressed concerns that the ordinance violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because of its impact on panhandling.  The ordinance does not discuss panhandling; it does discuss alarming statistics concerning pedestrian fatality rates in New Mexico in general and in Albuquerque in particular.

Among the statistics cited in the new Albuquerque city ordinance is the fact that New Mexico, as compared to other states, had the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 residents in 2014 and the seventh-highest rate in the year 2015.  The city of Albuquerque is said to have had the second-highest rate of pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 residents among U.S. cities with a population of over 500,000 in 2014.  As Albuquerque-specific statistics go, the city ordinance explains that among all of the pedestrian and bicyclist accidents involving crashes in New Mexico, more than 40% of the crashes occurred in the city of Albuquerque, and over 80% occurred around intersections.  Hopefully, the new measures will reduce accidents and improve safety.

Pedestrian accidents can cause fatalities and devastating physical injuries because people are much smaller and move much more slowly than vehicles, including cars and trucks.  Just as drivers can become distracted, so can pedestrians.  In some cases, people hesitate to come forward to recover financial compensation for their injuries or those of loved ones because of a concern that the pedestrian was partially at fault for the accident.  New Mexico law does not preclude recoveries in situations in which the pedestrian may be at fault.  This is because New Mexico follows the legal doctrine of “pure” comparative fault.  Some other states follow the legal doctrine of “pure” contributory negligence – a harsh rule precluding plaintiffs from recovering financial compensation if they are found to have contributed in any way to the accident that caused the injuries that they have suffered.  New Mexico’s legal regime is much more plaintiff-friendly, allowing, for example, a pedestrian involved in an accident to recover an award of damages from a driver, even if the pedestrian’s conduct was partially the cause of the accident.  Essential to a pedestrian involved in an accident is consulting an experienced attorney who can review the particular circumstances and advise as to their legal recourse, which in some cases may include pursuing compensation under applicable insurance policies and litigation.

Following a New Mexico pedestrian accident, you or a loved one may be entitled to an award of financial compensation, including in some cases punitive damages.  An award of monetary damages can assist people who are injured and their families with medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by the pedestrian accident.  To understand more about your case, call New Mexico pedestrian accident lawyer Matthew Vance at the Law Office of Matthew Vance, P.C.  We provide a free consultation and can be reached at (505) 242-6267 or online.

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Legal Element of Causation Must be Proven in New Mexico Lawsuits Alleging Negligence