Speed van obstructs bike lane, city says it’s not illegal

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – Rio Rancho’s speed vans are meant to catch drivers breaking the law, but what if the vans are doing something that’s against the law for everyone else?

That’s what people want to know after spotting a speed van parked in a bike lane.

The past couple of days a speed van was parked on Riverview Drive just off Meadowlark Lane, and even though it was blocking the entire bike lane, the city said the vans have their own set of rules

Like everywhere else, Rio Rancho is seeing more and more bicyclists on its streets, but what happens when their path is being obstructed by a Rio Rancho police speed enforcement van?

“It could possibly cause an accident,” Eva Romero, Albuquerque resident, said. Her grandmother lives in the area and she visits her quite often.

Even though Riverview just off Meadowlark in Rio Rancho doesn’t have signs on the asphalt like other bike lanes do, they’re still bike lanes.

The City of Rio Rancho’s own official bike lane map shows Riverview and Meadowlark both have bike lanes on each side of the street.

“If somebody were to be riding their bike they would have to go around it and possibly get hit by somebody coming around that corner,” Romero said.

A photo shows that the speed van took up the entire lane.

“I feel like it’s actually unsafe. Especially bikers that are coming down behind that car, it’s very hard to stop look and see if someone is coming towards them,” Devyn Williams said.

In an email, the city said bicyclists can go around the van or get off their bikes and use the sidewalk.

The city did want to make it clear that while speed vans are allowed to park in a bike lane under a specific ordinance, it would be a ticket for everyone else.

“I think it is a little ridiculous that the police department can park there knowing it is unsafe, but if we park there we are in trouble,” Williams said.

There are four speed vans around Rio Rancho and they switch locations every week, so the speed van is no longer in that spot.

Over the next couple of weeks, Rio Rancho Police will be putting eight more mobile speed enforcement vans out.

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