Bicycle accidents cause serious injuries and deaths in Nevada each year. According to data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the State of Nevada reported 11 cyclist fatalities in 2020 – the highest number in 10 years. The best way to keep yourself safe as someone who bikes frequently in Nevada is to know and understand the laws that apply to you. Obeying Nevada’s bicycle laws can keep you separate from motor vehicle traffic and reduce your risk of being injured or killed in a bicycle accident.
Can Bicyclists Ride on Sidewalks?
The answer to this question depends on where you are, but the general answer is no. In most city and downtown districts, municipal laws prohibit cyclists from riding on the sidewalk. This includes Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Strip. In these areas, cyclists must use the road unless a bicycle lane is provided.
Do Nevada Bicyclists Have to Stop at Stop Signs?
Yes. Although under Nevada law a bicycle is not classified as a “vehicle,” riders must still obey
general traffic laws. This includes road signs, traffic control signals, speed limits and other roadway rules. Cyclists must come to complete stops at stop signs and yield the right-of-way to other road users – including pedestrians, other bicyclists and motorists – that approached the intersection first. Failing to do so can lead to a citation.
Can Bicyclists Share Lanes With Others?
Two bicyclists can share a single lane with each other. However, a bicyclist cannot share a lane with a motor vehicle. This includes the habit of “lane splitting,” or riding a bicycle on the line between two lanes of traffic moving in the same direction. A biker should take up an entire lane, as he or she is entitled to do, but remain as close to the far right side of the lane as possible except when turning left or avoiding roadside debris.
Do You Have to Wear a Bicycle Helmet in Nevada?
No. Nevada is one of the only states that does not require the use of helmets among bicyclists of any age, including minors under the age of 18. No law in Nevada requires bikers to use helmets. There may be municipal laws in your city, however, that do require helmet use. Since helmets are not required statewide, the helmet defense – where the defendant alleges that the biker’s failure to use a helmet contributed to his or her injuries – is generally not allowed.
Are There Rules for Distracted Biking?
Not specifically, since bicyclists are not viewed as vehicles under Nevada law. This means that cyclists are free to use headsets, ear plugs and even look down at their cell phones while biking. However, distracted biking is dangerous, and cyclists are strongly encouraged against it. Biking while distracted greatly increases your risk of getting into a bicycle accident. Nevada does have a law requiring cyclists to keep at least one hand on the handlebar while riding, even when carrying articles on the bike.
Are There Special Rules for Biking at Night in Nevada?
Yes. If you ride a bicycle at night in Nevada (or during the day in poor visibility), your bike must be equipped with a lamp attached to the front that emits a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet. It must also have a red reflector on the rear of the bike that is visible from 50 to 300 feet. Finally, it must use either reflective strips or a lighted lamp visible from both sides from a distance of at least 500 feet.
Is Biking Under the Influence a Crime in Nevada?
Technically, biking under the influence does not fall under Nevada’s driving under the influence (DUI) law. However, it is still a crime known as reckless endangerment. Nevada Revised Statutes Section 202.595 defines this as performing an act or neglect of duty with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other people or property. This crime is a gross misdemeanor if it does not result in substantial bodily harm or the death of a person and a class C felony if it does.
If you get into a bicycle accident in Nevada, contact a Las Vegas bicycle accident attorney at Koch & Brim, LLP for a free consultation. You may be entitled to financial compensation.