Posted on July 23, 2019 in Firm News
Bicycling in Las Vegas, Nevada is a great way to save money on gas and get some exercise this summer. Staying safe on your bike, however, takes constant vigilance in such a busy city. In 2016, two bicyclists died in traffic accidents in Las Vegas. Learning and obeying the city’s bicycle laws can help you stay predictable to drivers, preventing accidents. It could also help you protect your rights as a bicyclist after a collision.
Bicycles Are Vehicles in the State of Nevada
Like many states in America, Nevada classifies bicycles as vehicles, giving bicyclists similar rights and duties to drivers. If you are biking in Las Vegas, you may use the road alongside motor vehicles. Las Vegas municipal laws prohibit riding a bicycle on the sidewalk within city limits – including on the Strip. Other cities in Nevada, such as Reno, have similar laws. In Las Vegas, you must ride your bicycle on the road unless a bike lane is available.
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.
As the operator of a bicycle in Las Vegas, other drivers must give you the respect they would a motorist. According to the state’s vulnerable user law, 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.
Bicycle Helmet and Equipment Requirements
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.
Biking Under the Influence
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.
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 safety in Las Vegas. Otherwise, you could end up with personal injuries from a bicycle accident – or 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.
Claggett & Sykes Law Firm will protect you if you were hit while riding your bike in the Las Vegas area. Contact a local bicycle accident attorney today to schedule a free consultation.