LAS CRUCES — A bicyclist was killed this afternoon after being struck by a pickup truck traveling westbound on U.S. Highway 70, according to a New Mexico State Police spokesman. Ronald Fronczek, 63, was traveling uphill and westbound in the far right-hand lane of traffic when the small pickup struck him from behind about 4 p.m. Sunday, said State Police Lt. Eric Garcia. Fronczek was pronounced dead on the scene, having suffered "heavy bodily injury," he said.
The fatal collision occurred on U.S. Highway 70 near milepost 156, where there are three lanes of westbound traffic and the posted speed limit is 70 miles per hour, Garcia said.
"The bicyclist was riding in the roadway and the motorist didn't see him," he added. "State Police currently have no intention of citing the driver."
The driver of the pickup, Larry Houck, 42, and his teenage son, who was riding in the passenger seat at the time of the collision, were treated for minor injuries at the scene, Garcia said.
"There's an important message for bicyclists here," Garcia said. "It is recommended that bicyclists visit their local bike stores for brochures and information on recommended routes of travel, instead of riding on open roadways."
On the New Mexico Department of Transportation's Las Cruces bike map, U.S. Highway 70 is designated "heavy traffic with shoulder."

 My post to the Las Cruces Sun.

“This may have been truly a tragedy--sun in the eyes, wind, possibly dust. Or, it might have been preventable. Seems most of us don't know yet. Maybe the only person who really knows is the pickup driver, Larry Houck, a law enforcement official at White Sands Missile Range. I'm truly sorry for all involved but especially for Dr. Fronczek, his family, colleagues, and patients.

What we do know is the casual comment of State Police spokersperson, Lt. Eric Garcia, doesn't really help. Fact is, in most of New Mexico, we cyclists have few roads from which to choose between. We need to ride safely and legally on the ones that are there and motorists need to drive safely as well. Accidents will still happen but hopefully be rare and we can eliminate those caused by simple carelessness, drunkenness, or through traffic code violations.

As far as Lt. Garcia and his superiors? The police don't write laws or decide for themselves which to enforce, i.e., where we can ride.  They enforce the laws and regulations made by those who have the power to make law and regulation, i.e., the State Legislature and New Mexico Dept. of Transportation. As a long time cyclist, a League of American Bicyclists Safety Instructor, former Bicycle Coalition of NM Board member, and a nearly ten-year duration policy advisor in my community who has worked with my own Police Department and County council, I have to pick a bone with Lt. Garcia for his callous statements made both now and in the past.

It is certainly more than justified for police to advise cyclists to use extra caution on high speed roads. I have done as much, working with the Los Alamos Police Dept. It is quite another thing to tell cyclists to get off the road, especially right after someone was killed and others are feeling rattled. This isn't the time to be so dismissive and in being so dismissive, it calls into question whether the State Police take the protection of cyclists seriously.

Lets grieve for this latest unnecessary death together and then go out and make New Mexico a safer place for all of us. Believe me, it will take all of our efforts.”