Updated May 2023
With great weather most of the year (if you don’t mind the heat), bicycling in Las Vegas, Nevada is a great way to enjoy different parts of the city. At the same time, Las Vegas is not the most bike-friendly city. Learning and obeying the city’s bicycle laws can help riders stay safe. But drivers also need to understand and respect the rights of bicycle riders and share the road.
Staying safe on your bike takes constant vigilance in such a busy city. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report a March 15, 2022 analysis showing there are almost 1,000 bicycle fatalities and more than 130,000 injuries due to bicycle accidents in America each year. Riders between the ages of 10 and 24 account for nearly one-third of all bicycle-related injuries treated in emergency rooms. Riders between 55 and 69 have the highest rate of bicycle accident deaths. About 64 percent of bicycle accidents occur away from intersections. One in three bicycle accident fatalities involves an intoxicated driver.
How does Nevada classify bicycles, and what rights do bicyclists have on the road?
Generally, bicycles are not considered vehicles because they are powered by the operator’s legs and not by any type of fuel or electricity. Generally, operators of electric bicycles must follow the same rules as operators of standard bicycles, though some exceptions may apply.
NRS 484B.763 provides that anyone “riding a bicycle, an electric bicycle or an electric scooter upon a roadway” has the same rights and duties as drivers of motor vehicles unless other sections of Nevada law apply.
Bicycle riders must also comply with many specific rules, such as when to signal if the rider is turning, how to sit on the bicycle, the number of people that can ride on the bicycle, the need to ride at the same level of speed as motor vehicle traffic, and other rules and obligations.
Are bicyclists allowed to ride on sidewalks in Las Vegas?
State law does not prohibit riding bicycles on sidewalks. So it is permitted unless there is an ordinance prohibiting riding on the sidewalk, cyclists can operate their bicycles on the sidewalk.
Las Vegas municipal code 11.80.140 prohibits riding a bicycle on the sidewalk on Fremont Street between Main Street and Seventh Street. The city code also allows public works department to put up signs prohibiting bicycles on sidewalks in other areas within city limits. Other cities in Nevada, such as Reno, have similar laws.
The Las Vegas Strip is not within the city limits of the City of Las Vegas, so it is not subject to those municipal codes. Instead, the Strip is within unincorporated Clark County and subject to county ordinances. There does not appear to be a county ordinance prohibiting bikes on the Strip, but people do get tickets, and officers from Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department are on record saying it’s not allowed.
Even if riders are allowed to ride on the sidewalk, they should still respect the right of pedestrians to use the sidewalk.
What are the requirements for bicyclists while riding on the road in Las Vegas?
When riding on the road, you must bike in the same direction as the flow of traffic. You must obey all roadway rules and regulations, as you would while driving a motor vehicle. Use the right lane and stay as far to the right-hand side of the road as possible. The only exceptions are if you need to make a left turn, avoid hazards on the side of the road (such as parked drivers opening their doors), or if you are moving as fast as the surrounding traffic.
If there are bicycle lanes, bicycle riders should use those lanes.
Some roads, such as higher-speed roads and Interstates, are specifically off-limits to bicycle riders. Riders can generally ride on rural roads where no other roadways are available.
What are the distance requirements for drivers when sharing the road with bicyclists in Nevada?
As the operator of a bicycle in Las Vegas, other drivers must give you the respect they would a motorist., Drivers must leave at least three feet of space between their vehicles and your bicycle on single-lane roads. If you are biking on a multiple-lane highway, drivers must give you at least one full lane of distance.
Drivers must also yield you the right-of-way at intersections and crosswalks, when applicable. You have the same rights to the road as other users and should not feel threatened or unwelcome by surrounding drivers.
How can obeying bicycle laws and practicing safety help protect bicyclists in Las Vegas?
If you were hit while riding your bike by a motor vehicle you may have the right to file a personal injury claim. Bicycle accidents can have lasting effects on the body, especially if you are hit by a car. Unfortunately, some drivers could take off after hitting someone on a bicycle, especially if it happened at night. The Las Vegas Strip is busy and quick, and it can be difficult to find the perpetrator if they hit and run. That’s where we come in. We help identify the driver that hit you or a loved one and then fled.
Victims of bicycle accidents can seek compensation for their medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, loss of bodily function, and any scarring or disfigurement. When bicycle accidents happen, the injuries are often catastrophic. Injuries may include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, broken bones, and other serious injuries. Families have the right to file a wrongful death claim if a close relative dies in Las Vegas bicycle accident.
Are there any helmet and equipment requirements for bicyclists in Nevada?
Nevada does not have a universal law requiring bicyclists to wear helmets when they ride. Bicyclists of all ages can lawfully choose not to wear helmets. However, the state’s Department of Transportation recommends all bicyclists wear helmets for their safety. Helmets can reduce the risk of serious and fatal brain injuries in a vehicle-bicycle collision.
All bicycles must have adequate brakes, seats, and handlebars. If you plan on biking at night, you must have a white headlight visible at least 500 feet in front of you, a red rear reflector visible from at least 300 feet, and reflective strips on both sides of your bicycle visible from 600 feet away. You should also wear bright and reflective clothing to improve visibility, although this is not a legal obligation.
Is it against the law to ride a bicycle under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Nevada?
Unlike most other states, it is not against the law to ride a bicycle under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Nevada. The state’s driving under the influence law only applies to motor vehicles and motorcycles, not bicycles. However, it is still not a good idea to ride your bike while inebriated. Cycling under the influence could increase your risk of getting into a serious accident.
As mentioned above, one-third of all bicycle accident fatalities involve a driver of a motor vehicle who was intoxicated. Our Las Vegas bicycle accident lawyers file personal injury and wrongful death claims against drunk drivers who cause accidents. We often work with the police to show the driver was driving under the influence.
What are the potential consequences of causing an accident while biking under the influence in Nevada?
If you cause an accident that injures someone else while biking drunk, you could face the criminal charge of reckless endangerment. This crime is punishable with fines of up to $2,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to five years.
It is in your best interest to always obey the law and bike safely in Nevada. Otherwise, you could end up with personal injuries from a bicycle accident – or be liable for someone else’s injuries if you cause a collision. Following the rules and biking safely can protect you from legal responsibility for an accident. It could also improve your odds of securing compensation from an at-fault driver.
If a driver fails to respect your right to operate your bicycle in traffic or while crossing a road, you do have the right to file a claim against a negligent driver.
Claggett & Sykes Law Firm will investigate your case and find the person or persons responsible for your injuries. We demand compensation for all your economic and personal damages. If you want to learn more about how we can help, contact us any time. You can reach us by phone or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Las Vegas and Reno for your convenience.
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