Homeless Receive Bicycle Lights

The Mesilla Valley Bicycle Coalition Is Providing Homeless Riders With Bike Lights

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Neon vests, reflectors, and most importantly, lights. When sharing the road at night, there are simple things cyclists can do to make themselves more visible, but some simply cannot afford it, and the city of Las Cruces is trying to help change that.

In the dark, it is hard enough to see someone standing right in front of you, let alone riding a bike. But it is a risk many homeless are taking.

"In the last two years I've been hit twice,? Richard Luper, whose only mode of transportation is a bike, said.

Brackets are empty on Luper?s bike where he said lights should be installed, but said, he simply cannot afford them.

"It's been a disadvantage for riding a bike, ya know a lot of nights I just walk it," Luper said.

And Luper is not alone in the homeless community. Racks outside the Community of Hope are filled with bikes, all of which the Mesilla Valley Bicycle Coalition will soon equip with lights.

"They've got to be able to see you,? Rusty, a homeless bike rider said. ?This isn't for me to see what's in front of me, it's for somebody else to see me."

With a light on the front or back of a bike, a motorist can see a cyclist up to a mile away, Pablo Lopez, Manage of Outdoor Adventures, said. But without it, motorists likely cannot see anything until it is too late.

"I don?t want to get killed,? Rusty said.

But it was too late for 58-year-old Ricardo Duarte. As reported on ABC-7, police said Duarte did not have any lights on his bike when he was hit and killed by a motorist back in October, a life that could have easily been saved with increased visibility.

"We get a lot of customers in here that aren't able to afford lights and stuff, and whenever we are changing a flat tire and stuff we notice that and usually go out of our way to put one on," Lopez said.

Homeless cyclists will receive their lights at the Community of Hope this Saturday, December 11th.

"Every year we have a lot of people who are homeless who die on the streets,? Pamela Angell, Executive Director of the Community of Hope, said. ?I think this gesture by the Coalition helps not only make the clients safer riding but also makes them realize there is some personal responsibility for their own safety too."

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