Bike Ban Averted in Albuquerque, City Moves to Add Bike Lanes Instead

Albuquerque is a League of American Bicyclists certified “Bronze-Level” Bike Friendly Community. So everyone was a little taken aback when it looked like the city was pursuing a bike ban on a popular thoroughfare last week.

A cyclist bikes past a "no bicycling" sign on Chappell Road in Albuquerque. The signs will be covered and bike lanes will be added after a campaign by the local cycling community. Photo: ## KOAT Albuquerque##

No more. This New Mexico city redeemed itself in the eyes of bike advocates when city officials said Friday that not only would they take down the “No Bicycles” sign on Chappell Road, but they would be adding two bike lanes on the road to improve cycling safety.

On Saturday, Los Alamos Bikes posted a thank you to Michael Riordan, the city’s Director of Municipal Development, who ordered the change.

Meanwhile, in a email to local officials, Khalil J Spencer, a Los Alamos-based LAB-certified cycling instructor, said “I’m happy the city turned this decision around so fast, but my main concern from here in the hinterlands is that the process does not repeat itself.”

Credit is owed to some quick organizing by local cycling advocates, about 20 of whom met with city officials to voice their concerns last Wednesday. Among them was Jennifer Buntz, president of the Duke City Wheelmen Foundation, who reminded the ABQ Journal that cyclists have the same rights to the road under the law as motorist. She added: “Cyclists are capable of deciding the best route for their travels. We do that every time we are on our bicycles. We can and do make choices with our ‘life, health and safety in mind.’ We do not need the city to do that for us.”

  • dhodun

    Albuquerque is a great candidate for a biking community. However, the planning was extremely auto-centric with strip malls and wide boulevards. There will have to be major adjustments to the urban-planning of the area.

  • I’m a bicyclist and a motorist:  regular motorist on Chappell, and and a regular bicyclist on the Diversion Channel trail just a few dozen yards parallel to Chappell.  This changed decision will end up with a cyclist(or several) getting whacked on Chappell inside a year; most insist on giving the shoulder 5 feet of space instead being more careful of the trucks and cars(This happens on a regular basis, city-wide) who can only avoid uncooperative cyclists so much and remain safe.  Hey, if they are willing to take on cement trucks and speeders for a couple miles, they have way more chutzpah and far less brains than your average preteen. The results are  predictable: get a ghost bike ready for Chappell.  Use the Diversion Channel trail.

  • Scott seems to ignore that cyclists have been using that road for twenty years and have had one crash, due to motorist error, in that time. I’m not sure how one extrapolates several crashes there in the next few months while the Diversion Channel trail is fixed. Once it is fixed, I suspect many more cyclists will use it without being forced. Those who don’t must ride responsibly.

     But to each his own. Opinions are free for the taking. Everyone can have one.

  • CONGRATULATIONS to local advocates on this success!  This whole idea of ‘drivers MUST drive, all else move aside’ is ludicrous and toxic.  It’s a wrongful sense of entitlement that has contributed to untold thousands of traffic deaths nationwide.

    The corollary idea that anyone who rides a bike in a certain area of ANY city must automatically be lacking in judgment and/or intelligence, or immature, is a slap in the face to alternative transportation; what are these nay-sayers going to say and do when the oil is reduced to a trickle of its present flood?  IMO, someone who chooses a bike as TRANSPORTATION is showing an awareness and maturity beyond any selfish entitlement!

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When African American residents in Portland initially opposed the extension of bike lanes on North Williams Avenue last year, it seemed to signify a wider perception that bike infrastructure mainly serves white professionals. While cycling for transportation is most common among low-income Americans, bike lanes were only on the table for North Williams once more affluent people […]