Motorcyclists are much more likely to suffer fatal injuries in traffic accidents than motor vehicle occupants. In 2019, 51 motorcyclists lost their lives in Nevada traffic accidents. One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in Nevada is breaking traffic laws. If every driver and motorcyclist in Nevada obeyed the law, far fewer collisions would occur. Check to make sure you have all the information and equipment you need before taking your motorcycle out on the road.
Motorcycle License Requirement
You cannot legally operate a motorcycle in Nevada without obtaining the right type of operator’s license. A standard driver’s license is not sufficient to operate a motorcycle. You must have a valid Class M license. It is important to obtain the correct license to have the skills and knowledge to safely operate a motorcycle. According to motorcycle crash statistics, 31% of riders killed in accidents did not have valid drivers’ licenses.
In Nevada, you must fill out a special application at the Department of Motor Vehicles, pass a written test and take a driving test to receive a Class M license. You will not need to take a skills test if you are transferring an out-of-state motorcycle license to Nevada.
Age Restrictions for Motorcyclists
You can operate a motorcycle if you are 16 years old or older in Nevada. If you are under 18, however, you must obtain a driver’s license permit first. The permit will be valid for one year after issuance. With only a permit, someone 21 years or older with a valid Class M license must visually supervise you while you operate the motorcycle.
If you do not acquire a full class M license after one year, you will need to renew your permit. Permits automatically expire on your 18th birthday. If you are over 18 years old, your permit will only be valid for six months and can only be renewed once every five years.
Required Motorcycle Equipment
Under Nevada Revised Statute 486.180, operation of a motorcycle is prohibited unless the vehicle meets all state and local provisions in terms of required equipment. A motorcycle is only roadworthy in Nevada if it contains all of the following:
- At least one headlight
- Electric turn signals (for motorcycles manufactured after 1972)
- Fenders on front and back wheels
- Footrests, including passenger footrests
- Front and rear brakes
- One rearview mirror per handlebar
- Rear reflector visible from 300 feet
- Red taillight that is visible from at least 500 feet
- Stoplight/brake light that is visible for 300 feet in daylight
As the owner of the motorcycle, it is also your responsibility to properly maintain your vehicle. Poor motorcycle maintenance could lead to faulty parts that malfunction or breakdown in transit. This could cause an accident.
Universal Helmet Law
All motorcyclists must wear helmets in Nevada. The state has a universal helmet law that requires every motorcycle operator and passenger to wear protective helmets. The helmet must meet the safety standards of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The law also requires motorcyclists to wear protective goggles or face shields if the vehicle does not have a windshield or windscreen.
It is against the law in Nevada for a motorcyclist to ride between two lanes of traffic moving in the same direction (lane splitting). A motorcyclist has the right to use an entire lane of traffic. While a motorcyclist can share the lane with a fellow motorcyclist, he or she cannot share the lane with a passenger vehicle. A motorcyclist cannot pass a motor vehicle in the same lane. Even if the surrounding traffic is stopped, a motorcyclist may not drive between two adjacent rows of vehicles.
Obeying Nevada’s traffic laws can help prevent motorcycle accidents. If you do get injured in an accident, contact an attorney for assistance.